Rising Scholars Students Partner With NASA
Rising Scholars students at the Columbiana campuses are partnering with NASA to create personal hygiene kits that astronauts may use during simulation training exercises. While scholars are part of a partnership with a NASA program used primarily by astronauts during simulation training exercises on the ground, a student’s work could reach the International Space Station if their project meets NASA’s highest quality standards.
The High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program was launched by NASA in 2003 at three high schools. Today, more than 200 high schools across the country are involved with the project-based learning program.
“Because it teaches life skills, while adding a prestigious line on their resumes, I thought it was an excellent fit for our program,” said Jessica Paull, Ph.D., director of the Columbiana County Rising Scholars program. “At the end of the year, our scholars will each receive an official letter from NASA that recognizes the skills they have acquired.”
The scholars began working on this project last fall by completing training required by NASA, and the goal is for each scholar to complete one hygiene kit design. NASA provided two industrial sewing machines, as well as the patterns and materials for the items. Before they could begin making hygiene kits, each of the scholars needed to practice and perfect their skills by making a composition notebook cover. This project incorporated all the skills and tasks required to make the hygiene kits, which allowed the students to practice on something they can keep.
The scholars learn best practices for quality assurance and proper safety documentation throughout the construction process. “Our scholars had the opportunity to talk to NASA representatives in person, not only about this specific project, but about internships and working for NASA, even if they don’t want to go to space,” Paull said. “It’s been a fantastic experience for our students and this program.”