NASA HUNCH Program Offers Real-World, Resume-Building Experience – Posted 1/6/16

Not many students can say they have played a part in the International Space Station. Come this Spring Semester, however, high schools students enrolled in the Engineering Design and Advanced Manufacturing (EDAM) program at County College of Morris (CCM) will become part of a select group as they work as NASA affiliates to build products for the International Space Station.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for young students to gain practical hands-on experience and to start building their resumes,” said Eric Pedersen, lab assistant for the engineering programs at CCM. After attending a conference where he met the program’s founder, Pedersen applied to see if the high school students at CCM could take part in the NASA High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) for the International Space Station. CCM is the first college to partner with NASA HUNCH.

To mark the launch of the project at CCM, Dr. Florence Gold, NASA HUNCH implementation project manager, met with the EDAM students on Wednesday, January 6. Gold, a graduate of both Randolph High School and Rutgers University, reviewed their assigned task for the space station, offering recommendations and suggestions for a successful project implementation. Also in attendance was John Schamarek Jr. from Haas Factory Outlet. The students will be working on equipment manufactured by Haas. At CCM, they will be taking part in the HUNCH Build to Print program designing and manufacturing parts for single stowage lockers for the space station.

“When you put this on your resumes, you are NASA contractors with the Johnson Space Center,” Gold informed the students. “You are now working for the space station. When the part you make goes into the locker, you’ll also get to sign the locker. Not only will your work go, your name will go up in space.”

“Not only are these EDAM students gaining a competitive edge by starting a college education early, now they will be implementing what they are learning in the classroom for NASA and gaining the experience to help them launch successful careers,” noted Dr. Edward J. Yaw, president of CCM.

EDAM is a share-time program developed by the Morris County Vocational School District in partnership with CCM earlier this year. About 20 high school students are enrolled in the inaugural class.

The program is designed for students with an interest in engineering, computer applications and manufacturing. Upon completion of the two-year program, students earn 32 credits from CCM and a Certificate of Achievement in Mechanical Computer Aided Drafting and Engineering Technology. Students may then enroll in CCM’s Associate in Engineering Technology program for one additional year to earn their associate degree, apply to a four-year college or university, or pursue workforce placement.

For additional information, call the Morris County School of Technology at 973-627-4600 ext.277.


HUNCH1 – High schools students studying at CCM pose with a sample of the equipment they will be making for the International Space Station. Pictured (l-r) are Alex Marchesi, Nathaniel Petricca, Michael Cohn, Andrea Espinosa, NASA HUNCH Implementation Project Manager Florence Gold, Kyle Green, Lauren Zenna, Joey Adams, CCM Lab Assistant Eric Pedersen and John Schamarek Jr. from. from Haas Factory Outlet.

HUNCH2 – Dr. Florence Gold, NASA HUNCH implementation project manager, addresses the high school students at CCM who will be designing equipment for the International Space Station as NASA contractors.

Credit: John Hester