NFCC to Compete in NASA Challenge


Ten NFCC Students Selected for NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium Program

NFCC Defending 1st Place Title at 2016 NASA Engineering Challenges Competition

MADISON, FL – Ten North Florida Community College students will travel to Kennedy Space Center in June to not only compete in the Florida Space Grant Consortium’s NASA Engineering Challenges competition against other Florida College System students, but to also defend NFCC’s first place title won by the college’s inaugural 2015 team. According to Dr. Guenter Maresch, NFCC science instructor and team advisor, the students who are selected to compete in this annual competition gain valuable experience that will benefit them in their studies, careers and social lives.

“Students have fun working on hands-on activities and are learning team skills, time and materials management skills, and strategic techniques on how to achieve a goal in a rather short period of time,” said Dr. Maresch. “The challenges cover a large range of very different fields, from computer science and programming to observation and maintenance of microorganisms. The students learn to figure out how each team member can contribute differently according to their knowledge and preferences.”

The Florida Space Grant Consortium’s NASA Engineering Challenges Project gives students the opportunity to learn about the science behind NASA technologies through hands-on learning activities. This semester NFCC students are building a high altitude balloon experiment, a robotic vehicle and a hydro-powered rocket. In June they will take their gained knowledge and NASA inspired creations for completion in three different “Olympic” style technical challenges. These challenges are modeled after NASA’s University Student Launch Initiative and Robotic Mining Competition among others.

NFCC’s 2016 participants are Clayton Goolsby, Hailey Hall, Kammeron Joseph, Jaylon McElwain, Richard Varn, Allison Cone, Kaitlyn Farnell, Jennifer Harrison, Sasha Key and Jestyn Roberts.

“The NASA competition presents a wonderful opportunity to build our communication skills and have a more hands-on experience rather than the regular classroom experience,” said NFCC team member Sasha Key.

Each student is awarded a $5,000 scholarship for participating in the competition through the Florida Space Grant Consortium’s Fellowship Program that is being coordinated by the University of Central Florida. Overall, NFCC was awarded $55,565 to facilitate this STEM based learning project.

Last year participant Rene Perez shared the following regarding his experience at the 2015 competition – “We all enjoyed spending the time with those running the competition and learning how NASA works. It was a thrilling week as we competed and, after hard work, won the competition. This competition has so far been the best educational experience yet and I’m so grateful that NFCC gave us this chance.”

This year’s NFCC team is looking forward to competing and hopes to defend NFCC’s first place title and bring home the gold.

“I am proud to represent NFCC at the 2016 NASA Engineering Challenges and I am excited to step outside of my comfort zone into a different field of science,” said NFCC team member Allison Cone.


NFCC to Compete in NASA Challenge

NFCC’s NASA team members are, left to right, Sasha Key, Clayton Goolsby, Jestyn Roberts, Jaylon McElwain, Allison Cone, Ricky Varn, Jenny Harrison, Hailey Hall, Dr. Guenter Maresch and Kaitlyn Farnell.