World Space Week 2
College of Education graduate Dr. Jami Friedrich explains how hydroponics help astronauts have fresh food in space.

ATLANTA – Mercer University College of Education and STEM Education Innovation Lab faculty Dr. Susan Cannon and Dr. Elaine Thurmond and current and former students Caitlin Hochuli and Dr. Jami Friedrich participated in World Space Week as a part of Mercer’s involvement in the Georgia Space Grant Consortium.

This past Saturday, students and educators from across Georgia gathered outside of Woodruff Library at Atlanta University Center for an all-day event that included hands-on space and STEM activities related to this year’s theme, “STEM to ESTEEM.”

The event’s goal was to create exposure and broaden participation among students, teachers, industry partners and the wider community, with a particular focus to support involvement from under-represented minority groups and create opportunities for engagement with space STEM.

Hochuli, Dr. Cannon and Dr. Friedrich provided participants with a hands-on demonstration of a hydroponics system and supplied students with materials to build their own hydroponic system at home.

“Hydroponics are an important research avenue not only for providing fresh food to astronauts in space but also to address population growth and land overuse,” said Dr. Cannon. “Hydroponic farming companies, such as Plenty Unlimited Inc., use just 1% of the water required by traditional farming methods and provide consistent year-round supplies of food.”

Hochuli also organized a digital art competition for K-12 students related to the theme, “How might we sustain life in space?”

The event was hosted by Morehouse University, the Hines Family Foundation, Atlanta University Center Data Science Initiative, Hines STEM Education and Training Alliance, Georgia Tech and the Georgia Space Grant Consortium.

Photos contributed

Kyle is senior director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he serves as editor of the Mercerian alumni magazine and News@Mercer e-newsletters, and he coordinates hometown and university news releases.