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Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022
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Students Get Industrial With Project

Palmdale Aerospace Academy didn’t just win an ordinary high school science fair earlier this month. Students representing the charter school took home a $1,200 prize funded by Northrop Grumman Corp., sponsor of the High School Innovation Challenge, a competition that both encourages students to study engineering and provides the aerospace contractor a tool to recruit future employees. This was the second year that Northrop’s Aircraft Integration Center in Palmdale has hosted the invitation-only challenge that pitted five high schools against each other. The 12-week program, financed by a $500 grant to each school, required the students to build a vehicle powered by wind or solar to travel 20 feet while carrying a payload. Demonstration of the vehicle took place April 5 in Palmdale. “We want to inspire young scientists and engineers so we can continue to innovate and make new products in the future,” said Krystal Puga, a systems engineer with Northrop and deputy coordinator for the high school challenge program. The company is based in Falls Church, Va. but has extensitve operations in Antelope Valley and Southern Calofornia. Antelope Valley High School placed second in the competition, while Tehachapi High School placed third. Diane Schultz, an instructor at the Palmdale Aerospace Academy, credited Marcos Pinares, a Northrop employee who gave the students valuable advice. “I had a lot of feedback from the students saying they felt like real engineers working on a real problem,” Schultz said. – Mark R. Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
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