Wyoming Indian High School student work to help astronauts on upcoming Artemis moon mission

    (Ethete, WY) – Wyoming Indian High School (WIHS) students were honored this week by the NASA HUNCH program, for their work on projects that will be utilized by astronauts on both the International Space Station and the upcoming Artemis missions to the moon.

    HUNCH stands for “High School Students United with NASA to create Hardware,” and the program’s mission is to “empower and inspire students through a Project Based Learning program where high school students learn 21st century skills and have the opportunity to launch their careers through the participation in the design and fabrication of real world valued products for NASA.”

    The HUNCH program at Wyoming Indian is one of only two in the state, the other being in Jackson.


    Gary Duquette, an engineering teacher in Jackson who works with their HUNCH program, told County 10 that students basically act as subcontractors for NASA through the program, and help solve problems for NASA scientists through product design and/or construction.

    Students are compensated for their work, and participation in the program can even lead to job placement within NASA, or with other employers related to their chosen expertise.

    Student Dionne Ferris kicked off the celebration by introducing Florence “Flo” Gold, who serves as the NASA HUNCH Academy Manager and Mentor for the Western/North-Eastern Region.

    A former high school teacher herself, Flo took her expertise in math and science and went on to go work for NASA, and in 2019 asked Wyoming Indian High School to be a part of the HUNCH program.


    “With Flo’s guidance and mentorship this program has given many students the opportunity to flourish in the areas of science and engineering,” Ferris commented during the intro.

    “Today is a celebration for our students in Scott Krassin’s class,” Flo explained, and shared that this is the fifth year his students have done work with NASA HUNCH.

    “I want to congratulate all of the students who are doing this project, and for their incredible teacher,” Flo continued. “Because without Scott we would not be here today honoring these students.


    Scott Krassin, who currently works as the WIHS Science Teacher, Robotics Coach and NASA HUNCH Instructor, was then recognized for all of the work he and his WIHS HUNCH students have accomplished since starting the program in 2019.

    Those projects included various design and prototype teams, who in 2019/2020 helped with a lunar brush, a lunar sleep rack, and a mouse feeder that fed mice being used for studies concerning osteoporosis.

    “It’s really important to realize that these projects that help the astronauts, also have value here on Earth,” Flo explained.


    Other projects included designs for agricultural devices, lunar habitat shoes, a Zero G bulk transfer system, and a crystal growth nanolab (all in 2021/2022).

    During the 2022/2023 school year, two students even got to meet Victor Glover, the first person of color selected to go to the moon, in relation to their work on a collapsible lunar table design.

    Flo also gave a specific shoutout to student Eliana Underwood, the resident 3D printing expert who helped with designs both last year and this year.

    After recognizing the previous years’ accomplishments, Flo then brought up WIHS senior Cassandra Iron Cloud to talk about the main 2023/24 project, which consisted of sewing hygiene kits that will be used to store astronauts’ various toiletry items.

    “It was pretty hard,” Cassandra told the crowd, but with a little help, their crew “really got the hang of it” she explained.

    County 10 also spoke with senior Kylaya Spoonhunter, who said that NASA provided the patterns for the kits, while students did all of the cutting and sewing.

    “It feels cool,” Kylaya said of the accomplishment. “Representing my school, myself and my Tribe.” Kylaya is Northern Arapaho.

    Not only do the students get the honor of knowing their work helps NASA, Kylaya and the sewing crew also got to learn first hand the importance of success through failure, or as Kylaya put it, “I became professional at using the seam ripper.”

    In addition to the sewing crew, Krassin recognized the work/help from all of the other students involved with the various HUNCH projects.

    Following the student recognitions, Sandra and Pat Iron Cloud performed an honor song in celebration of the accomplishments, and then the HUNCH crew had one more surprise for the students.

    Every participant in the project got to sign a panel, which will be used and seen on a space craft storage locker like the one pictured in the gallery below.

    Staff and family members of the students were also encouraged to sign the panel, which meant Elder Olivia Burton will now also have the honor of getting to see her name go to space.

    Those who ended up signing the locker panel included: Neve Bruno, Berril Gold, Mylee Antelope, Shye Killsontop, Ruby Burton, Olivia Burton (Elder), Michaela Hiwalker, Sandra Iron Cloud, Chloe Iron Cloud, Cassandra Iron Cloud, Kylaya Spoonhunter, Dionne Ferris, Faith Headley, Cheryl Headley, Kylee Sankey, Roberta Whiteplume, Eveangeline Sage, Eliana Underwood, Pauline Burton, Alianna Brown, Martin Underwood, Noah Red Willow, Marley C’Hair, Nancy Seiter, Vince Tropea (the organizers insisted the reporters present sign as well!), Marit Gookin, Richi Krassin, and Scott Krassin.

    Congratulations to all of the students, staff and family involved in the WIHS NASA HUNCH program, and like Flo said at the beginning of her address, “any of our students here might be on that mission to the moon” someday!


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