April 3, 2023


Holland, MI- Careerline Tech Center Pastry Arts and Baking program students Katie Bird and Devon Vanderwall, both seniors at Allendale Public Schools, were selected as one of ten Culinary Challenge finalist teams to present their food to a panel of judges at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas April 19 – 21 through the NASA HUNCH program.

CTC students who placed in nationals

The NASA High school students United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) program is a nationwide instructional partnership between NASA, high school and intermediate/middle school students to build cost-effective hardware and soft goods both for use on the International Space Station and for the training of NASA astronauts and flight controllers.

Pastry Arts and Baking Instructor for Careerline Tech Center, Austin Gresham, said the Tech Center culinary programs have a professional relationship with Grand Rapids Community College and their staff through formal credit articulation. 

“Thanks to this relationship, we were able to give students the chance to participate in this amazing opportunity when GRCC reached out looking for high school students,” said Gresham. 

Bird and Vanderwal were students in the CTC Culinary Arts program last year and bring that knowledge to the competition as well. They worked on the HUNCH project with Grand Rapids Community College’s Secchia Institute of Culinary Education Program Director Werner Absenger Ph.D., M.SC and Secchia instructor Chef Jennifer Struik after school for seven months.

All recipes must meet NASA-specified nutritional requirements and then be selected by a panel of 20 judges. The students worked diligently to perfect the preparation and taste of their Austrian Style Steak Soup and a research project looking at how foods affect astronauts in low gravity to earn their spot in Houston. The winning team will prepare a meal that will be sent into space for astronauts conducting research.

About Careerline Tech Center

Operated by Ottawa Area ISD, Careerline Tech Center prepares high school juniors and seniors for tomorrow's workforce by providing career and technical education in more than 25 career areas. CTC serves students from public and private high schools, as well as those who are homeschooled, within the following local school districts: Allendale, Coopersville, Grand Haven, Hamilton, Holland, Hudsonville, Jenison, Saugatuck, Spring Lake, West Ottawa, and Zeeland. www.CareerlineTech.org