STEM ‘Cheerleader’ finalists selected for NASA’s OPSPARC Challenge

WASHINGTON—Three students from Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C. have been selected as one of eight national high school Glog selection finalists in the NASA Goddard OPSARC Challenge making them the only team on the East Coast to place.

Students were asked to use their imagination and creativity to identify NASA spin-off technologies and increase awareness of the benefits NASA technologies contribute to our everyday lives by participating in NASA’s OPTIMUS PRIME Spinoff Promotion and Research Challenge (OPSPARC).  Items such as memory foam, invisible braces, firefighting equipment, artificial limbs, scratch-resistant lenses, aircraft anti-icing systems, shoe insoles, water filters/purification, cochlear implants, satellite television, and long-distance telecommunications were first developed for a NASA mission and then, re-worked to make everyday life easier.

These student finalists, Bria Snell, India Skinner, and Mikayla Sharrieff, also known as “S3“, are 11th grade scholars and varsity cheerleaders from the District’s Benjamin Banneker Academic High School who volunteer at the Inclusive Innovation Incubator (In3) in Washington, D.C. bannekr-cheer2Their participation with In3 is an integral part of their high school’s program and mission to help cultivate globally aware students through active community service. In3 is a new technology incubator corporation located in the Shaw Community near Howard University and supported by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s technology inclusion initiative.

Aaron Saunders, CEO of In3 and In3’s Community Manager, Marissa Jennings founder of Socialgrlz‘ Teen Mobile App, and Travis Bolden of Hales Government Solutions, provided facilities, equipment, materials, and weekly coaching to assist the young innovators with implementation of their “H2NO” to “H2O” Glog entry project.

Public voting begins Monday, April 23, 2018 through April 30, 2018.

NASA Finalists and Voting → https://opsparc.gsfc.nasa.gov/finalists-grades-9-12/

Voting is open to anyone in the 50 U.S. states and territories. Winning teams are invited to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for two days of in-depth, behind the scene, hands-on workshops with scientists and astronauts.  Additionally, each winning team receives an award stipend of $4,000, generously provided by the Foundation for Technology and Privacy Outreach to help offset expenses.

Sources and photos: In3 and NASA

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