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STEAM Middle School Team Named SSEP Mission 14 Experiment Finalist

STEAM Middle School Team Named SSEP Mission 14 Experiment Finalist
Experiment Moves to Flight Operations Phase, Group will Present in Washington, D.C.

Jan. 13, 2020 – STEAM Middle School’s “The Effects of Microgravity on Lentil Growth” team is named the flight team for the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 14 to the International Space Station (ISS). The team has until February 12, 2020 for experiment testing, refinement, and optimization before submitting the Final Flight Safety Review Form and all experiment details for the NASA Flight Safety Review.

More than 320 experiment proposals from Burleson Independent School District (BISD) students spanning grades 5-7 were submitted for SSEP Mission 14. This represented more than 1,100 students engaged in active scientific research in which the student researchers asked a question about the world around them, identified the information and steps needed to answer that question, then designed an experiment to test it.

At BISD’s Space Night Symposium, Local Step 1 Review judges poured over student team submissions to determine three finalist experiments to advance to the SSEP Mission 14 Step 2 Review Board. The Step 2 Review Board who met in Greenbelt, MD at the Goddard Visitor Center consisted of professionals and professors from prestigious institutions such as the University of Maryland, the National Institutes of Health, Uniformed Services University, Loyola University, NASA Research and Education support services, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University, and Institute Director and Program Managers from the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. The SSEP Mission 14 top three experiment teams included:

Will Nylon 6-10 form effectively in microgravity?
Allison Buckingham - Kerr Middle School
Co-principal investigators: Keira Clotfelter, Jack Dietz, Tommy Gifford, Waylan Kisor

The effect of microgravity on lentil growth
Allysa Sanchez and Chelsea Lentz - STEAM Middle School
Co-principal investigators: Macie Davis, Olivia Earley, Alex Mercer, Ava Monroe, Itzel

Will aspirin dissolve arterial plaque in microgravity?
Allison Buckingham - Kerr Middle School
Co-principal investigators: Olivia Davis, Brady Miller, Cash Miller, Aiden McNeelege

"Once again our teachers were able to guide students through microgravity experiment design and proposal writing, and student critical thinking pushed the envelope of experiment constraints!” said Stacy Hughes, BISD’s SSEP community program co-director. “Imagine being a 5th, 6th, or 7th grader and thinking through and designing an experiment that must fit in a 10 mL tube, with a maximum of 3 volumes, and must start and stop while in microgravity. It's difficult to think about, yet our students follow their curiosity every year and work through these constraints to design successful experiments. It is always amazing and exciting.”

The top 10 experiment teams for SSEP Mission 14, in no particular order, also included:

The effect of microgravity on mold and vinegar
Allison Buckingham - Kerr Middle School
Co-principal investigators: Landon Birdsall, Sarah Ingram, Serenity Martinez, Bailey
Tiwater, Isabella Wright

Does microgravity have an effect on plant cancer in space?
Susan Holman - Hughes Middle School
Co-principal investigators: Delani Barth, Jordan Beaty, Rori Vandever

The effect of flaxseed in microgravity
Allison Buckingham - Kerr Middle School
Co-principal investigators: Kane Lanier, Tyler Le, Carson Rhodes, Fischer Stalberger

The effect microgravity has on bacteria’s ability to decompose
Jonathon Smith - Hughes Middle School
Co-principal investigators: Joel Teer, Allison VanBrunt,

The effect of microgravity on enochi mushrooms
Jonathon Smith - Hughes Middle School
Co-principal investigators: Rylan Braxton, Brandon Munoz

How microgravity affects a strawberry plant growing
Joel Johnson - Hughes Middle School
Co-principal investigators: Ty Freeman, Dylan Battles, Clinton Lightfoot, Dylan
McMurray, Dalton Hirth

The effect of microgravity on the germination of daisy seeds soaked in hydrogen peroxide
Susan Holman - Hughes Middle School
Co-principal investigators: Briana Bandola, Arianna Escamilla, Gabriel Lugo, Isabelle

For more information on Space Night or SSEP Mission 14, visit

SSEP is a U.S. National STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education program that immerses students in every facet of authentic scientific research of their own design, using a highly captivating space flight opportunity on the International Space Station. SSEP Mission 14 to ISS provides a real research mini-laboratory capable of supporting a single microgravity experiment, and all launch services to fly the mini-lab to ISS, and return it safely to Earth for harvesting and analysis. Mirroring how professional research is done, student teams across the community submit research proposals, and go through a formal proposal review process to select the flight experiment. The design competition – from program start, to experiment design, to submission of proposals by student teams – spans 9 weeks.

About Student Spaceflight Experiments Program
The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program [or “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 DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks, LLC, which are 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 project of the Tides Center. To learn more, visit:

About NanoRacks
NanoRacks LLC was formed in 2009 to provide quality hardware and services for the U.S.
National Laboratory onboard the International Space Station. NanoRacks now has two research
platforms onboard the U.S. National Laboratory that can house plug and play payloads using the Cube-Sat form factor. Our current signed customer pipeline of over 50 payloads, including
domestic and international educational institutions, research organizations and government
organizations, has propelled NanoRacks into a leadership position in understanding the emerging commercial market for low-earth orbit utilization.

About Burleson ISD
Burleson Independent School District serves more than 12,800 students at 18 schools and is recognized as a premier school district in the Dallas/Fort Worth-area. The mission of Burleson Independent School District is to engage and support every learner with a rigorous curriculum so that they graduate college and career ready.

Media Contacts
Mikala Hill or Katelyn Tyler
Burleson ISD Communications