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"And, the Winners of This Year's STARward STEM Design Challenge are ... "

March 26, 2024

During tonight's STARward STEM Expo on the campus of Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville, 20 student teams from nine elementary and middle schools competed for the chance to see their design-challenge experiment travel to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Kennedy Space Center in a few months.

And, Cumberland County Schools (CCS ) is proud to announce the winners of this year's STARward STEM Design Challenge:

"At-Large" Winner
"Tardigrades 'The Water Bears'" Team
Fifth graders Elijah Bullock, Christopher Farmer and Sebastian Torres Ramirez from Cumberland Mills Elementary School
Teacher: Barbara Cascasan

Elementary Winner
"Monstera Plant" Team
Fifth graders Jameson McCall, Makayla Thaggard, Kaleb Walker and Avery Wise from William H. Owen Elementary School
Teacher: Anayansi Young

Secondary Winner
"Iron Oxide Investigators" Team
Seventy-First Classical Middle Schoolers Isabella Lee, Enoch Rogers, JosV Santz and Zachary Thurnher 
Teachers: Marvin Diaz, Marisoll Lopez-Willis, Joriz Malasa, Sarah Nelson, Jacob Regensburger and Tara Powell

The student teams have spent months collaborating on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) findings, investigating challenges that face astronauts in space exploration, identifying problems of interest and designing an experiment that can help improve life in space. The program was developed by RTI International in partnership with CCS with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and various community partners.

In addition to the student experiment exhibition and competition, Expo attendees had the chance to interact with cutting-edge technology, STEM industry experts and former astronaut Tony Antonelli, who is a Douglas Byrd High School graduate and served in the U.S. Navy before becoming a pilot on the STS-119 and STS-132 missions to the ISS.

Scheduled exhibitors included the STARward STEM project partners RTI International, DreamUp, Emerging Technology Institute, U.S. Space & Rocket Center,  Department of Defense DoD STEM, International Space Station National Laboratory and Cumberland County Schools.

Over 160 teams have competed over three years, representing more than 1,000 students.

Expo attendee stops and observes robotic dog walking across the floor.Elementary school student tries on electronic helmet.The"At-Large" Winners "Tardigrades 'The Water Bears'" Team from Cumberland Mills Elementary School pose for a photo with formAntonelli poses with the Elementary Expo Winners, the "Monstera Plant" Team from W.H. Owen Elementary School.The Secondary Expo Winners, the Iron Oxide Investigators Team from Seventy-First Classical Middle School, proudly take a pic




To see more 'out-of-this-world' moments during the Expo, click here.