Eighth Grader Wins NASA Competition




  Emily Takara, an 8th grader at Pinewood, recently competed in the “Future Engineers: Two for the Crew Challenge.” She came back with a silver medal and a 3D Printer for Pinewood. Sponsored by ASME and NASA, this year’s challenge had 349 submissions and started on Sept. 21, 2017.

 The “Future Engineers” competition “challenges youth to design 3D creations for space,” Takara said.

  This year competitors were asked to “create a new device using two existing pieces of [International Space Station] equipment,” Takara said.

  Takara entered the challenge with a device she created from scratch: the Tape, Cable, and Stowage Management Clip. The TCS Clip, designed specifically for the ISS, latches onto handrails to hold tape and cables and stores items. Takara spent three weeks researching, designing and prototyping the device.

  Takara has been participating in design competitions since the 4th grade.

  “I am in an informal design club and we occasionally enter challenges like this,” Takara explained. She first heard about this particular challenge from her mom.

 When Takara reached the finals, she was interviewed by a board of judges, including astronaut Dr. Yvonne Cagle, Niki Werkheiser (Manager of NASA In-Space Manufacturing), Michael Snyder (Made In Space Chief Engineer), and Lindsey Grissom (Licensing Engineer at Southern Nuclear). Takara was nervous; however, after the interview she felt “relieved and boosted by their encouraging comments.”

 Thanks to Takara reaching the finals, Pinewood was gifted a MakerBot Replicator Mini+. While Takara herself hasn’t used it yet, she is “excited to see what students from Pinewood will make of this opportunity.” Currently the 3D printer is in the Art Room. Mr. Bates, Pinewood’s Director of Technology, is especially excited about the printer.

“I think [the 3D printer] will open up opportunities for enhancing courses in all disciplines,” Bates explained. He also addressed the resourcefulness of  Upper Campus students in future use of the printer.

 “Where there is a need and someone passionate to take on the challenge of filling that need, solutions then present themselves,” Bates said. He hopes the enthusiasm about the printer will continue next year.

  For Takara, being able to compete and win second place in this competition was an amazing experience.    


For more information on “Future Engineers: Two for the Crew Challenge” and other winning students and technologies, go to the following URL: