PCTI Achieves National Recognition with NASA HUNCH

Culinary and Engineering students of Passaic County Technical Institute made headlines with their achievements in the NASA Hunch initiative. Their recognitions in the Culinary and Design & Prototyping programs earned them a place among the best at the national level, as well as a trip to Houston, Texas!

Culinary Arts students Ashley Gulliksen, Marlex Mirabal, and Aziel Shadey Velasquez competed in the NASA Hunch Culinary Challenge, a competition that encourages participants to design meals for astronauts to enjoy while aboard the International Space Station. This year’s contest challenged students to create a satisfying breakfast that met the standards provided by NASA HUNCH officials and the Johnson Food Lab Scientists. The team’s savory Tropical Steel Cut Oatmeal placed them among the top ten teams in the nation and qualified them to compete in the final round of the competition in Houston!

PCTI’s Project Lead the Way students were challenged to provide innovative solutions to actual problems astronauts experience in space. Their designs for the Hygiene Caddy and Can Crusher were ultimately selected among the top seven designs in nation! This is an outstanding feat, as more than 300 projects nationwide were submitted for the critical midyear design review. As a result of this accomplishment, PCTI’s PLTW students attended the Final Design Review at the Johnson Space Center.

Congratulations to PCTI’s Culinary and Engineering students for their outstanding achievements with the NASA Hunch Initiative!


PCTI Culinary students Aziel Shadey Velasquez (Bloomingdale), Ashley Gulliksen (Haskell), and Marlex Mirabal (Passaic) compete in the NASA HUNCH Culinary Challenge in Houston, Texas as one of the top ten teams.


PCTI Instructor Marianne Albarez-Hester joins students George Guanga (Clifton), Donte Carter (Clifton), Juan Escudero (Paterson), Harsh Rana (Clifton), Samy Abdelqader (Wanaque), and Theopil Kadela (Wayne) during their trip to Houston.