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Students’ science experiment earns them trip to White House

Buffalo’s “Spud Launchers” are going to the White House.

The team of three students from Hamlin Park School 74 - Toriana Cornwell, Gabriella Melendez and Shaniylah Welch - will be guests of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for the fourth annual State of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math - or SoSTEM – address on Wednesday.

The Spud Launchers - as the girls call themselves - recently won a competition through the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program for their project “Tuber Growth in Microgravity.” The project will test whether a potato can sprout in a small tube inside the orbiting laboratory of the International Space Station and survive the return to Earth for planting.

The White House trip was announced during a press conference at the school on Monday. Shaniylah said the girls are “happy to know that we can do things and not just be on the sidelines looking at other people do stuff.”

The students’ project will be sent up to the Space Station in June.