Top iLEAD Exploration Team Selected: 2022-23 DreamUp to Space Challenge

We are thrilled to announce the iLEAD Exploration team selected for flight in the 2022-23 DreamUp to Space Mission & Experiment Design Challenge. This experiment will head to the International Space Station (ISS), along with the top experiment selected from each of four other iLEAD California schools, with a targeted date of June 2023. Proposals and videos from five finalist iLEAD Exploration teams (Team Bacteria A, Team Bacteria B, Team King Oyster Mushroom, Team Chia Seeds, and Team Charlie) were reviewed by a panel of aerospace industry leaders, with this team’s experiment selected:

  • “What are the effects of microgravity on the germination, root growth, and root structure of Glechoma hederacea?”
  • Principal Investigators (PI): Grace Buchheit, Ethan Bell, and Emilene Bell

DreamUp iLEAD Student Aerospace Projects patch

“Congratulations to the five teams selected in this year’s iLEAD DreamUp to Space program,” said Lauren Milord, DreamUp’s Director of Programs. “I’m so grateful and excited to see how this program has grown at iLEAD, and I’m even more excited for your journey to prepare your experiments for launch to the International Space Station. Very few can say they’ve sent something to space, so congratulations again on this first step on your space research journey!”

The finalists were reviewed by a panel of assessors comprised of scientists and aerospace experts, who used a selection process that took into account the teams’ written proposals, their video submissions, and their responses to questions regarding how they will use this opportunity to share with other learners, families, and the community.

“Selecting one finalist team from the proposal submissions was incredibly difficult,” said Al Bowers, assessor and retired Chief Scientist, NASA Armstrong. “The ideas were so great. We could see each idea and easily envision the way it would be carried out by the astronauts on the Space Station and the students conducting the control on the ground. The assessor panel had a very difficult time selecting only one. All the proposals were simply outstanding! How incredible for these young people, standing on this terrestrial shore looking out to this ocean of infinite darkness and seeing the future!”

The teams also received praise from iLEAD’s leader of STEAM programs. “We are so proud of all of the learners who participated in the iLEAD Exploration DreamUp to Space Mission 2022-23 and the truly gifted facilitators, “Mission Control,” who led the mission: Jalaine Hagemeister and Amber Soto. The thoughtful proposals and inspiring video pitches have taken this project to a completely different level of learner achievement,” said Kathleen Fredette, iLEAD California’s Director of STEAM Initiatives. “It was a pleasure to share the leadership of this mission with Shawna Melville, iLEAD California’s STEAM Project Specialist.

The next phase of the journey requires the selected teams to create a DreamUp Launch Team. The selected leaders, called Principal Investigators, are tasked with opening the opportunity for iLEAD learners to apply to be part of the launch team, which will include experiment optimization, outreach, and fundraising. If all goes well, our teams will have the opportunity to present their experiment research at Kennedy Space Center prior to the launch.

iLEAD California CEO Amanda Fischer noted, “It is a tremendous source of pride for us at iLEAD California to have our learners so deeply involved in inspiring, hands-on, real-world projects such as DreamUp to Space. This project provides a unique opportunity for our learners to be actively involved in the forefront of space exploration and experimentation. As they partner with experts and NASA scientists, they are developing the critical skills that will be required to lead in our rapidly evolving world. This project epitomizes our educational approach of inquiry-based learning, which allows learners to grasp critical content as they explore their unique interests and aptitudes.”

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