WHS Grad wins Internation Space Station STEM Competition

ISS STEM Competition winners
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - 11:29

Woodbury High School graduate David Li (Class of 2018) recently won the Genes in Space science competition. David worked with three Mounds View High School students, Michelle Sung, Aarthi Vijayakumar and Rebecca Li, on an experiment that will be performed on the International Space Station (ISS) next year.

The group was led by Woodbury High School teacher Kaarin Schumacher and mentored by MIT graduate student Kutay Deniz Atabay. Together they created an experiment that studies how cells repair their DNA in space in the hopes it could eventually help protect astronauts from cosmic radiation.

“This is an amazing accomplishment on the part of these students. I am proud of their hard work and excited to see the results of the experiment,” said Schumacher.

The team was named as one of five finalists from the more than 550 applications from across the country this spring. They presented their proposal to a panel of scientists and educators at the ISS Research and Development Conference in San Francisco, California, July 23-26. As the winners of the competition, the team will travel to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center next spring to watch their experiment launch into space.

The fourth annual STEM contest, created by miniPCR and Boeing, challenges students in grades seven through 12 to design experiments to address real-life space exploration challenges and opportunities. The contest has already launched five sets of student experiments to the ISS.