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Ep 121 Create@State Features A-State SPOCS Students' NASA Project Funding

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This is A-State Connections on KASU. I'm Johnathan Reaves. This is the weekly segment called "A-State Connections and Create@State, Making Connections That Count." A team of Arkansas State University students, called the A-State Science Support System, is working on the Student Payload Opportunity with Citizen Science (SPOCS) project. It was selected by NASA's Office of STEM Engagement as one of five in the country to be carried out in 2022 on the International Space Station.

Entering the second phase of the competition as one of 10 finalists, the A-State team's project was among five selected for funding with a $20,000 NASA grant.

The SPOCS team includes seven students: Benjamin Whitfield of Little Rock, an electrical engineering major and team leader; Landon Perdue of Brookland, Mason Rhodes of Benton, and Jacob Oster of Bay, who are mechanical engineering majors; and Katherine Willis of Blue Springs, Mo., Claire Greene of Conway and Hannah Seats of Brookland, who are biological sciences majors.

Titled "Microgravity Environment Impact on Plastic Biodegradation by Galleria mellonella," their proposal is described as an experiment to discover the ability of wax worms to degrade plastics in space. Knowledge gained through the ISS experiment could provide the answers for more a sustainable environment on earth and future, long-term space travel.

Telling us more in this interview is Shea Harris, Arkansas Biosciences Institute outreach director, and students Mason Rhodes and Hannah Seats. Click here for the entire interview and subscribe to the Create@State podcast anywhere you get your podcasts.

Johnathan Reaves is the News Director for KASU Public Radio. As part of an Air Force Family, he moved to Arkansas from Minot, North Dakota in 1986. He was first bitten by the radio bug after he graduated from Gosnell High School in 1992. While working on his undergraduate degree, he worked at KOSE, a small 1,000 watt AM commercial station in Osceola, Arkansas. Upon graduation from Arkansas State University in 1996 with a degree in Radio-Television Broadcast News, he decided that he wanted to stay in radio news. He moved to Stuttgart, Arkansas and worked for East Arkansas Broadcasters as news director and was there for 16 years.