Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School

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NASA program allows Tri-County RVTHS students to reach for the stars

FRANKLIN, Mass. - Kristen Magas and her team are working to develop a scale that can measure mass in microgravity for NASA. The group isn’t working out of a laboratory at Johnson Space Center, they meet in Magas’ engineering classroom at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School.

“I think their experiment is one of the most creative ones that I have seen,” said Dr. Flo Gold, NASA correspondent and HUNCH’s Extreme Science Project Manager.

Tri-County is entering another year of participation in the High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware Program, or HUNCH. Through their participation in HUNCH, Tri-County engineering students apply their STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) toward reaching a goal shared with only two other schools in New England: to fabricate materials and experiments for use on the International Space Station.

“This NASA HUNCH program is the most impressive educational experience I’ve ever been a part of, having a chance for the kids to go from conceiving an idea, designing it, building it, and then operating it in zero gravity,” said Magas.

STEM education is becoming a greater priority for our nation's leaders as they continue to seek ways to prepare students for a workforce that is increasingly reliant on trained engineers, scientists, and innovators. HUNCH promotes student interest in STEM by allowing them to become professional researchers. While inspiring the next generation of scientists, NASA is also receiving cost-effective hardware.

NASA began HUNCH eleven years ago with schools in Texas, and later expanded to some schools in the Midwest. In 2011, they added a school from the Northeast. NASA enlisted the help of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to identify the school, and they recommended Tri-County.

“I was very impressed with what I saw here,” said Alvar Saenz-Otero, Director of MIT’s Space Systems Lab.

In addition to developing a scale that measures mass in microgravity, Tri-County students are developing a mixer that can prepare fresh foods in space. The students will continue to explore new research areas throughout the school year.

Click here to read more news from Tri-County. ______________________________________________________________ The Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical School District is an equal opportunity employer and coeducational high school that does not discriminate against students on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation, or disability in its employment policies, in the enrollment of students, or in eligibility for programs and activities in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title IX of the 1972 Educational Amendments, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. To contact the Title VI, Title IX or 504 coordinator call or write Adele Sands, Director of Student Services, Tri-County RVTHS, 147 Pond Street, Franklin, MA 02038, 508-528-5400,

Learn more about Vocational-Technical Education in Massachusetts. Read a Pioneer Institute White Paper by Alison L. Fraser (No. 42, October 2008).

147 Pond Street, Franklin, MA 02038, 508-528-5400 

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