Valley students selected to final stage of NASA HUNCH program

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Seniors from Gladys Porter Early College High School, Dana Perez, Sandra Salazar and Lesly Vega, showcase their NASA HUNCH project which deals with mental health in space at the South Texas ISD Central Office Teaching & Learning Center on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. (Omar Zapata | The Monitor)

Eight Valley teams in the NASA HUNCH program this year are advancing to showcase their projects for a final design review at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston on April 16 and 17.

NASA HUNCH is a project-based learning program where students learn 21st Century skills and have the opportunity to launch their careers through participation and design of real world products for NASA.

The program features eight different categories for students to participate in with only four being implemented in the Valley this year.

The eight teams come from Brownsville ISD, Harlingen CISD and South Texas ISD. They started working on their projects about six months ago.

Thirty-seven teams of students presented their prototypes to NASA officials on March 20 at the South Texas ISD Central Office Teaching & Learning Center.

The eight teams that are closer to having their prototypes used by NASA are:

>> Gladys Porter Early HS: Mental Health in Space: Dana Perez, Sandra Salazar and Lesly Vega;

>> Gladys Porter Early HS: 3D Printed Medical Devices: Hazel and Mario Hernandez;

>> UTRGV Harlingen Collegiate High: Badge Holder: Andy Castellano, Nicolas Capetillo, Aiden Figueroa and Diego Esquivel;

>> South Texas ISD Science Academy: Two-Step System to combat Biofilms: David S. Hovey, Ana-Laura Tamez and Estrella Palomo;

>> South Texas ISD Science Academy: IV Fluid Admin: Luis Gasca, Taylor Admire, Ethan Cheng and Diego Pina;

>> South Texas Science Academy: Soothwave: Mental Health: Daniella Cedrillo, Sumita Dantu, and Lauren Krawczynski;

>> South Texas ISD Health Professions: Astro Naps, Mental Health: Ariska Nguyen, Zaid Kokash, Vivian Jasso and Gael Jasso; and

>> South Texas ISD Science Academy: Light Therapy Device: Mental Health: Makena Silva, AJ Simpson and Victoria Seguin.

In the category of biomedical science, 68 teams were invited nationally and over 10% came from the Valley.