Vinemont High team sweeps InSPIRESS competition

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Vinemont’s winning InSPIRESS team: (left to right) Caleb Sharpe, Austin Riddle, Madison Watson and Sam Maldonado (Photo courtesy of Vinemont High School)

VINEMONT, Ala. – A team from Vinemont High School swept a recent InSPIRESS (Innovative System Project for the Increased Recruitment of Emerging STEM Students) competition in a program sponsored by the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) and NASA. Under the leadership of Vinemont science teacher Shannon Bridges, Project Manager Austin Riddle, Lead Systems Engineer Madison Watson, Chief Engineer Caleb Sharpe and Outreach Leader Sam Maldonado took first-place honors in Payload Concept Proposal, Outreach, Final Review and the overall division title. 

Vinemont Principal Robin Netherton told The Tribune, “Shannon Bridges is our science teacher that leads the program, and she’s simply the best! They usually have a lot of success. She wins a lot, which is great, because our division is full of math and science academies, some private schools. So winning in that division, going against some of the top competition is fantastic!

“This year was an exceptional group; not only did we win the overall competition, but we swept all three categories, which is something we haven’t done in the past. Shannon just continues to lead the team, and the team themselves, they’re exceptional scholars. They’re mostly seniors, and this senior class is just a fantastic senior class.”

UAH describes the InSPIRESS program:

“The Innovative System Project for the Increased Recruitment of Emerging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Students (InSPIRESS) is an outreach project that provides the opportunity for high school students to develop and design a scientific payload to be accommodated on a spacecraft which is designed by undergraduate students in the UAH IPT project.  High school students collaborate with the undergraduate engineering students to understand the engineering requirements, the design process, and the role a customer plays in design.  InSPIRESS teams compete for selection by the undergraduate engineering teams.”

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W.C. Mann

craig@cullmantribune.com