High School Students Build NASA Hardware

By Henry M. Holden
Katherine Kaniewski and Lauren Turi, both students at Mt. Olive High School (MOHS), are part of a two-year Share Time program run through Morris County School of Technology in partnership with the County College of Morris (CCM), called EDAM, Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing.
EDAM is designed for students with an interest in engineering, computer applications and manufacturing, who will learn through college-level work and hand-on activities.
“Utilizing cutting edge technologies in a newly renovated state of the art facility at CCM, students will be prepared for careers in a growing industry,” said Shari Castelli, director of Curriculum and Programs at the Morris County School of Technology.
“The three-year old program allows the students to spend 1/2 day at CCM in their junior and senior year learning mechanical engineering, taking eight credits/semester,” said Gina DiDomenico, Student Recruitment/Community Relations specialist. “Upon completion of the two-year program students will earn 32 credits from CCM and Certificates of Achievement in Mechanical Computer Aided Drafting and Engineering Technology. Students may then enroll in CCM’s Associates in Engineering Technology for one additional year to earn their associate degree, or at a four-year college or university, or pursue workforce placement.”
Another aspect of this program is that they are part of NASA's; High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program.
Each year, the students make parts to send to the International Space Station (ISS). Both Kaniewski and Turi, along with some other students, signed a storage box that was sent up to the ISS.
On Saturday, May 19, the girls, along their parents, teachers, and classmates, were honored by NASA on the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum, as part of a NASA recognition program for high school students
who worked on projects for the ISS.
The ceremony for schools from the Northeast marked the 15th anniversary of the HUNCH program. As HUNCH participants, they worked on projects ranging from the development of a UV wand to help
eliminate bacteria on the spacecraft to the creation of a dessert for the astronauts.
As part of the NASA HUNCH program, some student projects eventually fly aboard the International Space Station. Projects have included storage lockers for experiments, handrails, documentary videos, breakfast entrées, and software applications used by astronauts in space.
NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei spoke and recognized the participating students. Vande Hei logged 168 days in space on his first mission to the station and returned to Earth in February. He regularly connected with schools on Earth during his time aboard.
Included among the participants were 20 students enrolled in the EDAM program at CCM. Those students worked on parts for a storage locker that was sent to the International Space Station and a toilet paper dispenser.
Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, CCM’s president, encouraged the students to continue their good work.
“You are among the very few to have this kind of experience,” he noted. “Continue to be inspired and do great things in your life.”
Students may apply to EDAM during their 10 th grade year. Any current 10 th grade student interested in the program for next year may contact Gina DiDomenico via email at didomenicog@mcvts.org or
phone at 973-627-4600 ext. 277. If a student is accepted they would attend during 11 th and 12 th grade for a half day.

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