NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — Three aspiring STEM stars from Pasco County will get to see their experiment in space before they’ve even been accepted to college.
“Everybody tells you the sky is the limit, but you have to think bigger. In this case, we took that literal, we took that bigger,” said Amanda Marrero, one of the three team members whose science experiment was chosen to be sent to space.
Their experiment will be conducted in the International Space Station after it was selected by a national review panel for this year’s Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, Mission 14. There were around 4,000 submissions this year.
Their experiment had to fit entirely in a 3-milliliter tube, something the girls could not believe they accomplish.
“It’s just so crazy how a whole experiment, a whole life-changing experiment that could save lives, is in this little tube. We could save astronauts’ lives, peoples’ lives on Earth, just by unclamping a clamp,” said high school senior Shelly Nonnenberg.
Their experiment will test how well amoxicillin battles Staphylococcus epidermidis, a common bacteria found on skin most people call staph, in zero gravity.
It’s impressive in and of itself that the girls accomplished so much at such a young age. It's even more impressive considering everything else they had to manage at the same time.
“Volunteering, working, a job, and other classes, college classes, AP, dual enrollment, it’s a lot to balance. And, this was a lot in itself. But we did it and we made it here,” said student scientist Emily Null.
Their teacher was both proud and honored.
“It’s nothing something that you get to experience every day, or even, most people in their life don’t get to the chance to mentor students that are sending a research project to the International Space Station, so it was a pretty big deal,” said Sarah Kumar.
With STEM being a male-dominated field, this all-female team, led by a female teacher, was proud to be included in the growing group of women in STEM.
“There are no limits. A woman can do everything that a man can do. And a lot of women tend to underestimate themselves because it is a male-dominated field, just work hard. I would say work hard regardless of your gender, if you put your mind to what you believe, you will make it happen,” said Marrero.
The experiment will be sent to the International Space Station this August on a SpaceX rocket. The astronauts on board will conduct the experiment at the same time the girls conduct the experiment here on Earth.
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