Author: Paula Perez, CommUniverCity Project Coordinator
Space Spartan team members Kyle McEachern and Elizabeth Castro came to Mr. Wright’s Robotics class at San Jose High School to present their NASA project. Mr. Wright’s class is offered as an elective course and ranges from freshmen to seniors who are all interested in learning more about engineering.
Kyle McEachern, a senior at San Jose State University, is majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Elizabeth Castro, junior at San Jose State University, is majoring in Biomedical Engineering. NASA’s Micro-g NExT challenge is open to undergraduate students around the nation and focuses on challenging students to design, build, and test a tool designated to address current and authentic space exploration problems. The Space Spartans developed an under-ice sampling device that will safely gather ice core samples. The tool they will be creating needs to retrieve and preserve samples of ice and it can also help to prove that there is life beyond Earth. As Kyle said, “[We’ll know if there are aliens] when our prototype brings them back!”
The Space Spartans inspired a class of twenty high school robotics students to keep learning about engineering and robotics so that one day they can also participate in NASA’s Micro-g NExT challenge. The high school students were thrilled to look at their test drill, 3D printed parts, and other exciting bits of engineering.
Instead of starting their presentation by speaking about their achievements, they spoke about lessons they’ve learned. They talked about how one student’s weakness, such as 3D software or programming, will not bring a team down if they work together. Kyle is not as strong with programming, but is a great project manager and mechanical engineer. Elizabeth’s weakness is 3D software, but has a handle on programming. They, and the other members of the Space Spartans, make a great team because they support each other.
Mr. Wright mentioned that these students don’t have many role models who have gone to college or pursued engineering so, “anything that expands their horizons” is very important.
CommUniverCity would like to give a huge congratulation to the Space Spartans for being selected by NASA for the Micro-g NExT challenge! Reach for the stars because anything is possible.