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Student Enjoys ‘Out Of This World’ Experience

Fredonia student Joella Bauza was awarded a scholarship to attend U.S. Space Camp. Submitted photo

Sixth-grader Joella Bauza enjoyed the unique experience of attending U.S. Space Camp over the summer, and is currently saving her money to return this year.

Thanks to a $1,000 scholarship that she was awarded by the Lucile M. Wright Air Museum in Jamestown, Joella was able to spend the week of Aug. 20-24 in Huntsville, Ala., learning all about astronaut training techniques that require problem solving and critical thinking skills adapted from NASA’s programs.

Currently a Fredonia Middle School student, Joella is the daughter of Lindsey Bauza of Fredonia and Joseph Bauza of Dunkirk. Lindsey explained that Joella was just 9 years old when she applied for the scholarship, which included a two-page typed essay and in-person interview. She competed against students all over Western New York in grades 4-12, and was thrilled to be named the scholarship winner.

Activities at space camp involved training in the 1/6th Gravity Chair and multi-axis trainer. The students also practiced simulations of missions from the international space station and mission control. “We learned about the history of space, the first space ship to go into space, and Lakia, the first dog to go in space,” said Joella, who also learned how astronauts do even the most basic things like prepare food, eat and use the bathroom in space.

Other learning experiences included EVA (extra vehicular activity), which allows astronauts to obtain samples from space. In mission control, “We learned how to stop problems from happening, like air pressure loss and how to fix those problems,” Joella said.

Joella belonged to the group Cassiopeia, and at the end of the week during “graduation,” her group won the team work award. In addition to meeting new students, Joella’s week at space camp involved eating food from all over the world, as each day’s menu featured a different country. “My favorite part was meeting new people from all over the world,” Joella said. The Fredonia student is hoping to return to U.S. Space Camp again this summer to learn more through this unique, hands-on STEM experience.

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