Umatilla High School Junior Selected for Competition

A student at Umatilla High School will travel to Florida at the end of July to participate in the finals of the International Space Settlement Design Competition. Anthony Ibarra, who will be a junior this fall, was chosen based on recommendations from Umatilla School District Superintendent Heidi Sipe, Umatilla High School Principal Bob Lorence and Umatilla robotics coach Kyle Sipe. Superintendent Sipe said the school district was given the opportunity to send a student thanks to a partnership with the JPL Museum in Stayton, Oregon.

”We are proud to have Anthony represent Umatilla in this competition and honored to have the chance to select a student from Umatilla to attend. We're thankful for the partnership we have with JPL Museum and Dr. Norman Chaffee to create new opportunities for Umatilla students,” Sipe said.

Ibarra said he is nervous and excited to represent his robotics team and Oregon at the competition. “I have liked participating in the Umatilla robotics program because I like working with my hands and hope to become an engineer. At robotics competitions, I like how everyone is friendly and willing to help each other and how we have to work together in matches,” Ibarra said.

The International Space Settlement Design Competition is an industry simulation game for high school students, set in the future on the planet Venus. The competition is designed to emulate, as closely as possible, the experience of working as a member of an aerospace industry proposal team. Each team is provided with managers from industry to serve as the company CEO, and participants receive technical and management training to prepare them for the competition, which concludes with presentations to a panel of judges. According to a press release, the competitions require participants “integrate their knowledge of and utilize skills in space science, physics, math, chemistry, environmental science, biology, computer science, writing, speaking, art and common sense.” Space Settlement Design Competitions are sponsored by Aerospace Education Competitions and the National Space Society.

Ibarra has plenty of experience working as a team member, due to his active participation on Umatilla’s robotics team. Robotics coach Kyle Sipe said, “Anthony was an easy choice as a representative of the robotics program. He is well rounded, hardworking, respectful, deep thinking and motivated -- exactly the type of student we're proud to have as our representative at such an elite event."

The JPL Museum ( in Stayton, Oregon, was established in 2015 to provide opportunities and experiences utilizing the artifacts from Joseph P. Loftus Jr.’s 47-year career with NASA. The mobile museum concept used by the JPL Museum was envisioned by Loftus and designed to maximize the learning experience by providing a mobile hands-on, user-friendly museum exhibit designed for all age groups.

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