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Maura Richard, a student at Douglas Byrd High School in Fayetteville, expressed her excitement about the opportunity to design her own science projects and potentially send them into space. The 3rd annual STARward STEM Expo recently took place at the school, attended by over 200 students representing teams from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Cumberland County STEM Education Director Frank McKay highlighted the importance of promoting education through events like the STEM Expo. He emphasized the value of focusing on what communities and the country need right now in terms of education. Experiments at the expo can range from simple to complex, with student team the Fly Guys testing whether plant seeds can grow in outer space.

Denise Renfro, a teacher in Cumberland County, recalled a past experiment that investigated the effects of perchlorates on aerospace materials and how it related to corrosion on the Mars rover. The innovation and creativity of students participating in the expo have led to exciting discoveries and opportunities for their projects to be sent to the International Space Station as “science payload.” The winners of this year’s STARward STEM Expo will be announced on Tuesday evening.

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