By Irika Sargent

(CBS) – Two Chicago college students built a high-altitude balloon, installed it with a camera and launched it to study helium and pressure.

CBS 2’s Irika Sargent reports.

The experiment was designed by Truman college students Beatriz Barrera and Viri Leon. They were part of a summer program on high altitude ballooning supported by a grant from NASA.

“They did amazing stuff,” their professor, Mike Davis, says.

It wasn’t easy. Viri was not strong in math, and Beatrice didn’t know much about coding, but they designed the experiment, programmed the computer and made a camera to see the balloon expanding and popping. Later, they analyzed the data on temperature, pressure and altitude.

“They put a balloon up 20 miles above the earth. They popped it. They brought it back and they got scientific data at the same time,” Davis says.

The experience changed them.

“This program really did verify that i do want to be an engineer,” Beatriz says.

And Viri is now determined to have a career doing medical research. So, what’s their advice to younger girls afraid of science and math?

“Definitely take science and math. Open your mind to it,” Beatriz says.

Says Viri: “Limitations are imaginary, and we can do whatever we set our minds to.”

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