Congratulations to the “Sporeos” Team from the International Preparatory School in Buffalo!

An original experiment proposal developed by a team of Grades 7-9 students from a Buffalo Public School, International Preparatory, was selected in December 2018 for testing on the International Space Station in this year’s Take Flight Program, Mission 13.  WNY STEM Hub coordinated the program regionally in partnership with the National Center for Earth and Space Education (NCESSE).

This is the third mission sending work from a WNY team to the International Space Station. In 2015, a team of students (nicknamed “The Spud Launchers”) from Hamlin Park Academy in Buffalo was selected.  In 2017, a team from Wellsville Secondary School was selected.

This project is a real-world experience. The skills they learn put them ahead of their peers as they prepare for college.  The students agree that the Take Flight program was unique and special. Tyler Watson a Wellsville student said, “We’ve done labs for various sciences, but rarely have we had a chance to actually design and test an experiment of our own.”  Comments about new skills learned, an appreciation for teamwork and a sense of accomplishment have been echoed by other student team winners.

While awaiting the launch, the Sporeos team is now providing NCESSE with flight safety documentation and continuing ground truth experimentation, under guidance from their laboratory advisor at SUNY Buffalo State.  They have also posted a GoFundMe page to raise funds for their 2019 trip to Cape Canaveral to view the launch and a trip in 2020 to the Smithsonian where they will share their findings at a national conference of student scientists.

Proposals were reviewed by a local panel of judges organized by WNY STEM Hub. Twelve local schools participated with recognition going to teams from these schools:

Finalists:  International Preparatory School, Lockport High School, Olean High School

Honorable Mentions:  Buffalo Academy of Science Charter, Salamanca High School, Wellsville Secondary School

A mission patch contest identified student-designed patches to accompany the experiment.  Winners were from Depew High School and Lockport High School.  A special Hands Across the Border competition was completed with the Greater Fort Erie Schools, Ontario.

Lead sponsors of this Program were Praxair and Moog.  Supporting sponsors were: National Grid, Magellan Foundation, Integer, Turner Construction, First Niagara Foundation, Cornell Space Grant, Siemens, InfoTech WNY, Otis Eastern, Olin Buffalo Construction Management and Dupont.

NCESSE is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC NanoRacks, LLC, which works in partnership with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Stations as a National Laboratory. The NCESSE program originated in 2010 to address national strategic needs in Workforce Development for the 21st Century designed to inspire the next generation of U.S. scientists & engineers.