PHS Students Participate in NASA Tech Rise Challenge

Talented group of engineering students and their teacher “rise” to take on a unique challenge!


Tech Rise members pose with their advisor, Mr. Mazur

Piscataway High School’s engineering team recently qualified for NASA’s Tech Rise competition. Around 600 teams nationwide had applied to compete, with only 60 winning teams moving on. But not only had Piscataway squeezed through by a tiny margin, the talented group of young engineers later had found that they had been the only school in New Jersey to qualify.

The NASA Tech Rise competition provides eager students an opportunity to indulge in and attempt to solve real world issues using their creativity and problem solving skills. Their objective this year was to generate an experiment utilizing microcontrollers to fly up 70,000 feet into the stratosphere on a NASA-sponsored hot air balloon, to explore environmental topics such as ozone, air quality, UV, and humidity. After qualifying, the students received $1500 from NASA to make their designs into a reality.

But how did Piscataway get involved in the competition?

On the October of 2022, engineering advisor and teacher, Paul Mazur, was presented with the opportunity by a couple of students. Mazur said that “…this was presented in an email… it was time critical… and [he] didn’t want the students to lose out on a great opportunity”. After receiving the necessary approval, Mazur sent out an invitation to the members of the Technology Student Association, an engineering oriented club, to see if they were interested. The aspiration and determination from the students to be a part of something motivated Mazur to lead the young engineers to their first step of the project.

Participating in the competition, competitor and PHS senior Vivek Mistry seeks to, “…make a difference by sharing a practical idea that could be a reality and be used everyday, benefiting society as well as the planet…” similarly, TSA president and PHS senior, Kanika Syal, said that the competitors wanted a, “…real-world hands-on project which was different from the projects [they] have in school.” By putting their skills to the test, they wanted to, “… explore [environmental issues] and… contrive solutions.”

Currently, the competitors are working diligently and are confident of their designs. More than a month is available as the final project is due on the 5th of May. Best of luck competitors!

Tech Rise members with the mayor at JFK Library!