Douglas Byrd High School Hosts 3rd Annual STEM Expo, Sending Student Science Projects to the International Space Station

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

The 3rd annual STARward STEM Expo was held on Tuesday at Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville, hosting over 200 students representing teams from kindergarten through 12th grade. The winning teams will have their science projects sent to the International Space Station as a “science payload.” Maura Richard expressed excitement about the opportunity to create their own designs and potentially see them sent into space.

Cumberland County STEM Education Director Frank McKay highlighted the significance of promoting education through events like the STEM Expo and emphasized the importance of addressing the needs of communities and the country. In addition to the student winners, two teachers and a principal will attend the Space Academy for Educators in June at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama.

One of the teams, the Fly Guys, is investigating whether plant seeds can grow in outer space using a mystic tube separated into three sections. Their experiment ranges from simple to complex based on their interests and goals. Denise Renfro, a teacher in Cumberland County, shared the success of 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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