STARward STEM Expo Shines a Light on the Importance of Science Education with International Space Station Sponsorship

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

On Tuesday, the 3rd annual STARward STEM Expo was held at Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville, with over 200 students representing teams from kindergarten through 12th grade in attendance. The winning teams will have their science projects sent to the International Space Station as a “science payload,” an opportunity that Maura Richard expressed excitement about.

Frank McKay, Cumberland County STEM Education Director, highlighted the importance of promoting education through events like the STEM Expo and emphasized the significance of addressing the needs of communities and the country. The experiments conducted by students can range from simple to complex based on their interests and goals.

One team, the Fly Guys, is investigating whether plant seeds can grow in outer space using a mystic tube separated into three sections. In a previous year, a student experiment explored the effects of perchlorates, a chemical compound found in Martian soil, on aerospace aluminum alloy. 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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