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New Jersey Students Win NASA And USA TODAY Competition


WASHINGTON -- NASA and USA TODAY announced the winners of the 2010 No Boundaries National Competition. The winning student teams are from across the country and excel in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Students worked in small groups or individually to develop a project that markets careers at NASA to teens. They selected one of the four STEM disciplines and chose a career within that discipline. The members of the group then researched that career from different perspectives and developed an innovative project that showcased the career and included each group member’s work. Finally, the teams presented their completed career research projects to a group of their peers.

The 2010 winning entry was “Let’s Get Materialistic” by the team of Kristine Baltazar, Elka Chowdhury, Jenna DiRito, and Neil Montwani from Saddle Brook Middle School in Saddle Brook, N.J. The team chose to focus on materials engineering and won the competition with an old-fashion styled black and white art portfolio.

“We strongly believe in the importance of providing opportunities where students can learn about STEM careers by actual example,” said Alotta Taylor, manager for education in NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate. “Programs like ’No Boundaries’ are instrumental in making these careers come alive for students.”

Honorable mentions include second place to Zoe Bentley, of the Sahuaro Girl Scout Council in Tuscon, Ariz., for her “Exogeology ROCKS!” and third place to Ronnel Boettcher and Cory Smith, of Enterprise High School in Redding, Calif., for their “Astronomy: No Boundaries.”

USA TODAY will present the first place winners with a $2,000 cash prize and present second place winners with $1,000. The teacher or sponsor of the winners will receive $500. NASA will provide the first place winners with a VIP guest tour of the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Because of the exemplary efforts of second place winner Zoe Bentley, NASA added a special VIP visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., to her award package.

“We are very impressed by the efforts of all the entrants,” said Jerry Hartman, education lead for NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. “By participating in ’No Boundaries,’ these young men and women are learning what it takes to be part of the next generation of explorers.”

No Boundaries is a joint initiative between NASA’s Space Operations and Exploration Systems Mission Directorates. NASA also partners with USA TODAY Education. The program encourages students to explore STEM careers through stimulating, project-based learning and team competition. No Boundaries targets students in grades 7-12 and is designed as a team-centered cooperative learning project.

For more information about NASA’s education programs, visit:

For more information on No Boundaries, visit


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