‘Milford, we have a problem’: Platt Tech students need money to get to Houston
If they can raise another $3,500 to make the trip to Houston, four winning Platt Technical High School students will get a life-altering chance to work alongside NASA engineers at the Johnson Space Center on an app designed by the students.
The four students studying Information Technology Systems at Platt are among three high school teams in the nation to receive the honor for their appto assist astronauts with a planning tool that gives personalized reminders for astronauts in the space station. The other teams are from Maryland and Wisconsin.
“Being able to put a NASA project on your resume is pretty darn impressive,” said Platt department head Tom Viola, who quipped that he didn’t realize he was such a good instructor.
Viola said they only found out a week ago that they were chosen and are scrambling with fundraisers, because, “Not every one of these kids can come up with all the money. We’re not asking students to pay anything.”
Their project — the “Crew Personalized Mission Reminder Tool” — uses mission data from NASA’s Playbook mission planning tool to create a personalized reminder tool for the astronauts, allowing them to easily see what they need to do daily and personalize the “regimented schedule of each astronaut to be self-monitored ensuring optimal efficiency and safety of each crew member,” Viola said.
Platt students on the team are: Austin Art and Ethan Feldman both 15, of Milford; Justin Kelly, 16, of Derby; Shayne White, 15, of West Haven.
Viola said the plan, if the goal were realized, would be to leave from Hartford on April 24 — if they can buy tickets — and the next day will sit with NASA engineers, answer questions about their prototype and all work together on blending the best facets of each into a single app . Viola said they’ve already experienced emailing and consulting with the NASA engineers in a “chance of a lifetime.”
“It’s almost like they’re part of that team … Invaluable experience on resume,” Viola said.
Viola said it was all the talented students’ work, writing codes as well, that led them to be chosen for NASA HUNCH Design and Prototyping Final Review at Johnson Space Center. Viola said he and another instructor were there for support.
The NASA HUNCH program — High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware — partners NASA with high school students and involves students fabricating real-world products for NASA as they apply their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills as well as learning to work in teams and think creatively.
Viola said they have rooms booked, but need to raise money for airfare. The state, facing a budget crisis, cannot provide any funds, Viola said, so they’re turning to the public for help.
Aside from running fundraisers, they have set up a GoFundMe account.
For more information or to help support the students please contact: Tom Viola at 203-882-4021 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Anya Farber at 203-783-5385 or email@example.com; Ed Martinez at 203-783-5375 or Edward.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone wishing to send a check can make it payable to Platt Tech PFO, with HUNCH trip in note area and mail it to 600 Orange Avenue, Milford, Conn., 06460. Platt is a state school that draws students from 20 towns and cities.