Cumberland County students vie for chance to send science experiments to International Space Station

Cumberland County Students Blast Off to Space with Winning Science Projects at STEM Expo

The 3rd annual STARward STEM Expo took place at Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville on Tuesday, with over 200 students representing teams from kindergarten through 12th grade in attendance. This year’s event saw a significant increase in participation, with teams showcasing their innovative science projects to a panel of judges and an audience of fellow students and educators.

Frank McKay, the Cumberland County STEM Education Director, spoke about the importance of promoting STEM education through events like the STEM Expo. He emphasized the need to address the needs of communities and the country as a whole, and encouraged students to explore their interests and goals through their experiments.

The winning teams will have their science projects sent to the International Space Station as part of a “science payload.” Maura Richard expressed excitement about the opportunity to create her own designs and potentially see them sent into space. One team, The Fly Guys, is investigating whether plant seeds can grow in outer space using a mystic tube separated into three sections.

Denise Renfro, a teacher in Cumberland County, shared her success with students who discovered the presence of perchlorates in Martian soil after investigating corrosion on the Mars rover’s wheels. These students were among the first to have their experiments sent to the ISS as part of the program. The winners of this year’s STEM Expo will be announced on Tuesday evening.

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