NASA HUNCH Finalists Present Project at AIAA Symposium

Rhiannon and McKenna Tulloss

Hello AIAA members, McKenna and Rhiannon Tulloss writing to you from Chatfield Senior High School in Littleton, CO. A little background for you; my sister and I have been taking STEM classes since elementary school and have been interested in aerospace since middle school, where we were enrolled in Discovering Technology (DecTech) classes at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden. We have taken two levels of engineering classes in high school and those classes introduced us to the HUNCH (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware) program. The HUNCH program challenged us to create a Bulk Item Transfer System which evolved into our current iteration, portable, collapsible, and reusable glovebox. Our design was selected to be presented at the FDR at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Our group was one of only sixty-two groups selected from 277 schools, spanning the entire nation. NASA astronauts and engineers at Johnson Space Center found our design was very innovative and a creative way to design a glovebox without gloves and still maintain a closed environment. While at the Space Center, we were given the honor of signing a metal locker that went up to the ISS to commemorate our contributions to the HUNCH program and NASA.

Our Portable and Collapsible Glovebox design originated from researching current Micro-Science Glovebox and Life-Science Glovebox systems currently installed on the International Space Station. Our design aims to increase the degree of portability, versatility, and storability compared to a traditional rigid glovebox. The Portable, Collapsible and Reusable Glovebox can be rolled up for quick and easy transportation and storage. It is self-containing, and the self-sealing SnapFlaps are perfect for a variety of projects that require a contained, secure environment. One driving concept behind our design is to preserve dexterity while operating inside the glovebox. The SnapFlap was created in order to allow the operator to use the glovebox without gloves, offering maximum dexterity and ease of use. This idea also drove the development of the Portable, Collapsible and Reusable Glovebox.

Our association with AIAA began when we researched aerospace organizations and learned about the opportunity AIAA offers high school students. The benefits of being a member include free membership, the ability to connect with various aerospace leaders, and networking events. Once I became a member I saw many opportunities to learn more about aerospace and to connect with various industry leaders. I am very thankful my sister and I were given the opportunity to present our project to aerospace professionals and students alike. The Poster Session we attended was very insightful and informative. My sister and I are very proud to say that we were the only high school students to present at the Poster Session. The environment was very similar in style to the FDR for HUNCH in at the Johnson Space Center. It was a great place to network and show our design to aerospace leaders such as Mark Pasquale (Vice President and General Manager of Lockheed Martin) and many other VIP’s! The environment was very professional and many leading edge projects were presented. Although McKenna and I were the only high school students at the Poster Session, we felt included and respected among the other undergrad, graduate students, and aerospace professionals. The experience was amazing, especially for high school seniors looking to network and to get a feel for what working in aerospace is like. This opportunity was only one of many that AIAA offers to their high school members. Becoming a member is easy and is free for high school students. By becoming a member, you gain access to the daily newsletter, networking events, and other local events. Being members of AIAA allowed McKenna and I to present our project outside of the HUNCH program, thereby reaching a wider aerospace audience.

Both my sister and I are planning on pursuing careers in aerospace engineering. We both hope to work at Lockheed Martin after college and stay in Colorado. Through our experience as engineers thus far, we have become fascinated by the amount of aerospace engineering that is done right here in Colorado. Through our engineering classes and experiences, we have discovered that aerospace engineering is where we want to focus, and Colorado is quickly becoming a hub of aerospace primes and subcontractors!