Students take home honors at Conrad, NASA HUNCH

Three NCSSM teams recently travelled to the Conrad Innovation Summit in Cape Canaveral, Florida, as finalists in the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge. Team LEAF Systems won the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Technology Award, the Navy Gemini Award, and were named as Pete Conrad Scholars. NCSSM Chemistry Instructor Tim Anglin was also recognized at the summit, winning the Chairman’s Innovative Teacher Award for 2018 as well as the Apollo Science Teacher Award from the Conrad Foundation and Tranquility Lodge.

The annual competition challenges teams of high school students to combine innovation and entrepreneurship along with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) expertise, to create commercially viable products that can benefit humanity and support global sustainability.

This year saw 51 students across 13 teams participating in the first stages of the entrepreneurship challenge, which began in October 2017. NCSSM’s twelve finalists competed in the Aerospace and Aviation and Health and Nutrition categories, pitching their products and business plans to a panel of expert judges at the Summit. Three additional teams from NCSSM were recognized as alternates.

NCSSM’s finalists teams were:

Team LEAF Systems
Jonathan Kelly
Yiran Qi
Julia Wang

Team Secured
Vibhu Ambil
George Dimitrov
Adithi Rao
Jacky Zhang

Romi Asad
Akash Karri
Jason Tran
Michelle Tung
Thomas Yang

In addition to being named finalists, students on Team LEAF Systems took home additional honors at the summit. The team won the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Technology Award, recognizing the team who best incorporated existing NASA technologies that were made available to finalists or have the potential to utilize NASA technology in their products; and the Navy Gemini Award, awarded to the team who best reflected the Navy characteristics of teamwork, diversity, innovation, and hard work. The team members were also honored as Pete Conrad Scholars. See the full list of winners from the challenge here. Read more about all of the finalist teams here.

NCSSM Chemistry Instructor and coach for the teams Tim Anglin was recognized with two awards are the summit, winning both the Apollo Science Teacher Award from the Conrad Foundation and Tranquility Lodge, as well as the Chairman’s Innovative Teacher Award for 2018.

Fellow Chemistry Instructors Myra Halpin (retired) and Bob Gotwals also served as mentors for the Conrad teams as part of the NASA HUNCH program. Kat Cooper served as a chaperone for the trip.

Five of the students competing in the Conrad Challenge were also recognized for their work with the NASA HUNCH program, with a special invitation to the Johnson Space Center in Houston before travelling to Florida. Romi Asad, Akash Karri, Jason Tran, Michelle Tung, and Thomas Yang first travelled to Houston, were they met with NASA astronauts and engineers to discuss their design for an improved single-point exercise harness for use on the International Space Station. The NASA team showed a great deal of excitement for their work and encouraged them to move forward with additional testing of their concept.

Student participation in this competition made possible with the support of the Ives Academic and Club Competition and Conferences Endowment