Fairchild Challenge at Phipps: Challenge #2 Winners Announced!
Jan 13

Fairchild Challenge at Phipps: Challenge #2 Winners Announced!

By Jennifer Torrance, Science Education Coordinator

Thank you to the many schools that submitted entries for Challenge #2!  This challenge was titled “National Challenge: The Next NASA Mission Patch.” It was designed by the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Florida in partnership with NASA.

Elementary, middle and high school students were asked to pour their creativity and style into visual arts pieces and writing for this challenge! This project challenged students to design a mission patch for NASA’s VEG-05 mission to grow Red Robin tomatoes aboard the International Space Station. Entries were also submitted to NASA’s contest, and the winning entry (TBA) will be chosen and reproduced by NASA! We were astounded by the many wonderful submissions that students of all ages entered. The students shared beautiful, intricate, and sometimes humorous designs for NASA’s next mission patch, and their written descriptions explained the symbolism and history embedded in their patches. The students clearly displayed the wonder of combining the nature world with the mysteries of space. I hope you are as inspired by the winning entries as we were!


And the winners are:


High School

First: Mars Area High School; Addi Girdwood, Mira Ramanathan, Annelie Gustafsson, Cecelia Crowley


Second: Penn-Trafford High School; Mark Harris, Kristina Heins, Kate Malley, Delena Steimer


Third: The University School; Arden Murdock, Tru Rentschler


Special Merit: Central Catholic High School; CJ Proch

Judges awarded this special merit for excellent writing.



Middle School

First: Archangel Gabriel School; Alexandra Sipusic


Second: Trafford Middle School; Delaney Race, Alex Serapiglia


Third: Elizabeth Forward Middle School; Maureen Giunta, Corey Shipe


Special Merit: Avonworth Middle School; Eva Roedersheimer

Judges awarded this special merit for a fun, humorous, and unique take on the challenge!


Special Merit: Marshall Middle School; Aarush Muthukrishnan, Srinika Dasari, Jeremy Xu, Tanuj Goparapu

Judges awarded this special merit for excellent writing.


Special Merit: Trinity Middle School; Daesha Plesko

Judges awarded this special merit for beautiful, creative artwork.


Elementary School


Featured Entries:

Acmetonia Elementary School; Emma Mason



Belle Valley Elementary School; Dhruv Verlekar, Madison Palm, Aarush Kene, Kadyn Denbow


Tracy Elementary School; Gwen Adams, Jeenal Panchariya, Jaiyi “Elsa” Qian, Adriana Sejdiu


Turtle Creek Elementary STEAM Academy; Stella Wheaton


Thank you to all of the students who submitted patches for this challenge, and a huge thank you to the teachers who encouraged and supported them!


We would like to give a special shout out to our panelists: Mike Hennessy of the Moonshot Museum (check it out!), Amanda Watts of the Carnegie Science Center, physics educator Jeffrey Nechleba, and Phipps volunteers Boaz Frankel and Shelley Gruss. Thank you all for lending us your time and expertise!


Have questions? Contact Jennifer Torrance at jtorrance@phipps.conservatory.org or 412/622-6915, ext. 3230.


Developed by the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami, Fl., and adopted by Phipps as a satellite partner in 2008, The Fairchild Challenge offers a menu of interdisciplinary challenges for grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12, attracting students of diverse interests, abilities, talents and backgrounds. The Challenge empowers young people to engage in civic life and encourages them to become energetic and knowledgeable members of their communities.