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DFW students design for International Space Station

December 17, 2021

Congratulations to the SSEP Mission 16 finalist teams and patch design contest winners.

Finalist Teams:

“PETase breakdown of plastic in microgravity”

  • Teacher Facilitator: Allison Buckingham
  • Co-principal investigators: Holden Jones, Kaden Jurica, Ava Mitchell, and SaNiyah Nation

“The effect of microgravity on agar consumption of penicillium mold”

  • Teacher Facilitator: Jonathan Hawley-Bernardez 
  • Co-principal investigators: Noah Boulter, Madalyn Cannon, Elizabeth Castaneda, Cameryn Pierce, Lane Schott, Taylor Symes

“The effect of microgravity on Lion’s Mane mushroom”

  • Teacher: Jonathan Hawley-Bernardez
  • Co-principal investigators:  Liana Aibischer, Ashlyn Favors, Dillyn LaRue, Elizabeth Meyer

Mission Patch Design Contest Winners: 

The Mission Patch Design Contest winners are Emily Peterson from the Academy at Nola Dunn and Olivia Gardner from Centennial High School.

Mission 16 Space Challenge: Burleson ISD students’ microgravity research, engineering projects prepare for liftoff

Nov 2, 2021 – Move over, Elon Musk. The scientists of tomorrow are in Burleson Independent School District (BISD) classrooms now and soon will find out if their big ideas could take flight on a rocket into space. Students’ experiments could help lead to discoveries aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on how microgravity affects the human body, causes chemical reactions and more.

Burleson ISD students have for the last eight years had a design selected for testing by astronauts launched to the ISS. The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) space challenge requires professional research and engineering processes with student teams across BISD submitting research proposals, testing their designs, and submitting formal proposals of final designs to review committees.

Students will showcase their microgravity experiments for judges, including professional engineers, college professors, and other scientists who will choose the top three projects to advance to the SSEP National Step 2 Review Board for possible selection for the SSEP Mission 16 to the ISS.

“The ingenuity of students in this space challenge could help solve problems in ways we never thought possible. We get to see the beginnings of these promising discoveries from up-and-coming scientists in our own community,” Superintendent Dr. Bret Jimerson said.

WHAT:             Space Night

WHEN:            Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, 6-8 p.m.

WHERE:          Burleson High School, 100 Elk Dr., Burleson, TX


  • 950 BISD students who accepted the SSEP Mission 16 Space Challenge
  • Scientist Judges, including Texas Christian University and University of North Texas professors
  • Fort Worth Astronomical Society
  • Hundreds of students and parents

 Nearly 1,000 Burleson ISD students are participating in the SSEP program, which also commissions elementary and secondary students to design mission patches to accompany BISD's experiment to the ISS.

About Student Spaceflight Experiments Program

The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program [or just “SSEP”] is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S. and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education Internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with NanoRacks, LLC, which is working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory.

About National Center for Earth and Space Science Education

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) creates and oversees national initiatives addressing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, with a focus on earth and space. Programs are designed to provide an authentic window on science as a human endeavor. Central objectives of the Center’s programs are to help ensure a scientifically literate public and a next generation of U.S. scientists and engineers - both of which are of national importance in an age of high technology. NCESSE is a division of the 501(c)(3) Tides Center.

About Burleson ISD

Recognized as a premier public school system in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Burleson Independent School District serves more than 12,600 students across 18 schools. Caring BISD educators and staff challenge and support students to help them graduate ready to tackle college and careers.

Media Contacts

Mikala Hill or Katelyn Tyler