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May 10, 2011

Rebecca Strecker, NASA News Chief
NASA Public Affairs Office
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
(228) 688-3249

NASA Hosts HUNCH High Schools at Stennis Space Center

On May 6, NASA hosted eight high schools that had partnered with the agency to design and develop hardware and software models and products for use in America's space program during a HUNCH Recognition Day at John C. Stennis Space Center.

Student teams from Louisiana and Mississippi received awards and showcased projects developed through the High Schools United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) initiative during the May 6 gathering. The eight student teams recognized for their work on HUNCH projects included Beau Chene High School in Arnaudville, La.; Captain Shreve High School in Shreveport, La.; East Central High School in Hurley, Miss.; Gulfport (Miss.) High School; Hancock High School in Kiln, Miss.; Lusher High School in New Orleans; New Albany (Miss.) High School; and Northside High School in Lafayette, La.

NASA's HUNCH program enlists high schools to work with agency engineers on projects to benefit the space program. Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and John C. Stennis Space Center, near Bay St. Louis, develop tasks and mentor students through school visits and Skype communication.

"This hands-on program benefits everyone involved," said Cheryl Guilbeau, elementary and secondary projects coordinator for the Stennis Education Office. "Students get to work on real projects with engineers who are leaders in their field, and NASA achieves a goal of preparing a new generation of leaders for the space program."

The student teams spent weeks working with NASA engineers on assigned projects. The teams displayed and presented their work to various NASA personnel during the showcase.

HUNCH projects for this year included work on:

  • Hardware mockups of equipment used in the International Space Station
  • A portable hybrid rocket test demonstrator

The HUNCH initiative was launched at Marshall and Johnson Space Center in Houston in 2003 and expanded to include Stennis Space Center in 2009. In addition to introducing students to a real-world work experience, the goal of the program is to inspire high school students to pursue careers in science, technology or engineering fields.

HUNCH teams include faculty leads and 10-15 student team members who work with NASA mentors. The teams also have support from local school systems, industry partners, media representatives and nonprofit organizations. Schools from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee worked on the most-recent HUNCH projects led by Marshall and Stennis centers. During the May 6 gathering, members of the participating teams were able to tour Stennis facilities and enjoy a pocket rocket demonstration.

For information on HUNCH, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/descriptions/HUNCH.html.

For information about Stennis Space Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/stennis/.

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