UB School of Engineering director Nancy DeJarnette and engineering dean Dr. Tarek Sobh with Bridgeport student Daniel Zabala, a winner of the Mission Patch Design Contest

This June, University of Bridgeport (UB) student research will be sent to the International Space Station through the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education’s Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.

To include the Bridgeport community, the University invited area students to participate in a Mission Patch Design Contest.

Every U.S. space mission dating back to the early days of the American space program has had a mission patch.

Keeping with this tradition, UB’s science experiment will rocket up to the ISS on June 9 accompanied by mission patches designed by Daniel Zabala, a high school freshman from Bridgeport Military Academy, and Jessica Fonseca, a fifth-grade student at Roosevelt Elementary School in Bridgeport.

The patches were among hundreds of designs created by approximately 1,500 Bridgeport students who participated in the Mission Patch Design Contest. It was coordinated by UB School of Education’s Director of Elementary Education Dr. Nancy DeJarnette.

Winners were named at the University’s Engineer’s Day in February. An honorable mention was also awarded to Ethan Diaz, a second-grade student from Geraldine Claytor Magnet Academy.

The contest’s panel of judges included DeJarnette, School of Education Dean Allen Cook; Dr. Nelson Ngoh, also from the School of Education, Shintaro Akatsu School of Design (SASD) Dean Max Shangle and SASD professors Gary Munch and Alex White; Dr. Ruba Deeb, UB’s Student Spaceflights Experiment Program principal investigator; and Dr. Jani Pallis, from the School of Engineering.

“It wasn’t easy picking our winners; truly, we were overwhelmed by the students’ enthusiastic response,” said DeJarnette. “Whether we work in the fields of engineering, design, or education, we share a responsibility to nurture and encourage young peoples’ talent and curiosity. So as educators, we’re thrilled by their enthusiasm and talent.”

Senior Vice President of Graduate Studies and Research and Dean of the School of Engineering, Dr. Tarek Sobh, agreed. “Events like Engineer’s Day and the Mission Patch Contest are important vehicles to engage young minds,” he said. “Beyond that, spending time to speak with students about the Students Spaceflights Experiment Program reminds us of the magic of space and exploration.”

Media contact: Leslie Geary, (203) 576-4625, lgeary@bridgeport.edu