Text and photos by Steev Riccardo
WEBSTER – Bartlett Junior High School eighth grader Keyshla Falcon has been accepted for a full scholarship to attend NASA Space Camp this summer in Huntsville, Alabama.
The eighth grader is part of the school’s advanced STEM (Science Technology Mathematics Engineering) class, which is taught by teacher Brandy Whitney.
“To get accepted to space camp, Keyshla had to come up with an experiment on her own and build a solar-powered race car. She had to document it and do a lab report,” said Whitney. “She also had to write several essays on why she should go and who inspired her to go, and she had to get three teachers to recommend her. She spent many hours working on this project alone; shewas really incredibly motivated to this.”
Falcon said that she “couldn’t believe that she was accepted” and is “very happy to go.” Her inspiration for the project was Ellen Ochoa, who was the first Hispanic woman in space.
As far being in the advanced STEM class, Falcon said, “It’s fun. We get to do projects all the time and even though there is a lot of writing it’s still fun being in this class.”
“Anybody can apply to go to space camp but they have a very limited number of scholarships available nationally,” said Whitney. “It’s really amazing and it’s a huge honor. This is the first year that I have had a student who finished the application process, and she was chosen.”
The scholarship covers her room and board and Whitney said that they are working on getting her airfare covered.
Whitney, who started the STEM classes at the junior high school two years ago, will be attending the NSTA (National Science Teaching Association) expo in St. Louis and presenting STEM on a budget. She’s had the support of school administration, and the program has been quite popular and successful.