Hackett research bound for final frontier -- again

Six students holding certificates stand next to their science teacher

For the third year in a row, an experiment proposed by a team of eighth-grade scientists at William S Hackett Middle School will travel to and be performed on the International Space Station.

Late this spring, astronauts on the space station will conduct, “The effects of a microgravity environment on the growth of mold on strawberries,” a proposal crafted by Jolie Benjamin, Bria Kelley, Paige Lemmon, Nicolas Toala and Emi Zerka (pictured at right with teacher Craig Ascher).

Team members were recognized Thursday during class, when Middle School Science Supervisor Amanda Powers congratulated them and presented them with certificates.

In the fall, eighth graders in the district’s three middle schools took part in the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP) experiment design competition. They worked in teams to design an experiment that tests the effects of microgravity – weightlessness – on a particular scientific variable. 

Two other groups of Ascher students were the district’s semifinalists in the contest and were also recognized Thursday. They include the team of Melanie Garcia, Aaliyah Lugo, Joy Moo, Thwe Pearl and Praneha Puri for their experiment, “The effect of microgravity on the germination of Spinacia oleracea,” and the team of Teddy Burke, Ben Coons, Charles Hallgren, Adib Jamakzai and Myat Maung.

A group of teachers and administrators judged all the experiments and forwarded the top three to SSEP, which selected the Hackett project from others submitted throughout the country..

Congralutions to the students and their guiding teacher!