Buckeye High Team Wins NASA Competition, Experiment Will Be Launched in Weather Balloon

A team from Buckeye High school has won a national NASA contest called the TechRise Student Challenge where they designed an experiment to be conducted high in the atmosphere on board a weather balloon.  ABC 31 News’ Joel Massey spoke with some students involved.

Buckeye Senior Emily Roche said, “We had to come up with an idea that was beneficial to our community about problems with it so we came up with the idea of UV rays and how many people in our community are laborers and work outside all the time.”

Emily Roche is a senior at Buckeye High School and is part of a team that won a competition sponsored by NASA.  They were tasked with designing an experiment to be performed in the stratosphere on a weather balloon.  Now the students must assemble their experiment inside a small box and submit it to NASA.

“It’s going to be really exciting because we’ve never been able to experience something like this and having to build something from scratch and order sensors and everything we’ve never had that experience before in this rural community.  So it’s going to be a great time and hopefully we can do it successfully with the engineers that are going to help us from NASA and everything.”

Lacy Hooser is the Buckeye science teacher who sponsored the team.  She says she was surprised to learn that they had won.

“It was a huge shock.  Super proud of the kids but just pushing the STEM kids and trying to get them interested in something new was the original goal.”

Hooser talks about what will go on during the flight.

“On the way up the experiment is designed to take in data through sensors and when it goes into the stratosphere it will spend four hours in flight there before coming back down.”

Hooser says she was excited to see how the team took ownership of the project.

“If I can get them exposed to new opportunities whether it be through engineering or just being creative in class that’s really my goal with them.  They really took it and ran with it.  We have some great leaders in class that really stepped up and help to lead the class and come up with a wonderful proposal that ultimately got selected by NASA and will be heading up to the stratosphere.”

Senior Paige Ratcliff said she never expected to be working with NASA.

“Oh it’s crazy.  I never would have thought that I would ever be talking to anyone from NASA or that NASA would even send us an email.”

Emily says they couldn’t have done it without their teacher.

“I’m super grateful and thankful to have Ms. Hooser as our teacher and STEM teacher to provide us with the opportunities that we get at Buckeye High School.”