Young Minds Reach for the Stars: Student Innovations Sent to Space through STEM Expo

By Eleanor Harrison Mar27,2024
Cumberland County students vie for chance to send science experiments to International Space Station

The International Space Station (ISS) is set to receive a new batch of science projects from the 3rd annual STARward STEM Expo, which took place on Tuesday at Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville. Over 200 students representing teams from kindergarten through 12th grade attended the event and showcased their innovative designs.

The winning teams will have their projects sent to the ISS as part of a “science payload,” providing an incredible opportunity for students to see their work reach new heights. Maura Richard, a student who participated in the expo, expressed her excitement about the chance to create her own designs and potentially contribute to space exploration.

Cumberland County STEM Education Director Frank McKay emphasized the importance of promoting education through events like the STEM Expo and 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, known as the Fly Guys, is investigating whether plant seeds can grow in outer space using a mystic tube separated into three sections.

In previous years, student experiments have explored various topics related to space exploration, including the effects of perchlorates on aerospace aluminum alloy. Denise Renfro, a teacher in Cumberland County, shared how her students discovered perchlorates in Martian soil after investigating corrosion on Mars rover’s wheels. These students were among the first to have their experiments sent to ISS as part of the program. The winners of this year’s STEM Expo will be announced on Tuesday evening.

By Eleanor Harrison

As a content writer at, I infuse flavor into words, crafting compelling stories that captivate and inform our audience. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for creativity, I strive to create content that not only engages but also inspires. Whether I'm concocting a savory blog post or whipping up a spicy product description, I pour my heart and soul into every piece I write. Join me on this flavorful journey as we explore the tantalizing world of content creation together.

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