Innovative Hydroponic Research Lab Takes Root at GSSM

September 8, 2022

HARTSVILLE, S.C. (September 8, 2022) – The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) unveiled its innovative Hydroponic Research Lab on Thursday. The lab, which is constructed from a shipping container that has traveled across the world, is a first of its kind in the Pee Dee region.

The Hydroponic Research Lab, which provides 900 cubic-feet of growing space, will give students that are interested in biology, chemistry, environmental science, engineering, computer science, robotics, economics and more, a hands-on teaching tool to engage their creativity and critical thinking through this advanced technology platform.

“Innovative ideas that come from faculty, staff and alumni that will impact students on and off our campus are usually good ideas,” GSSM President Danny Dorsel said. “The Hydroponic Research Lab is one such idea, and we are blessed to see all of the hard work coming to fruition. We are anxious to start growing plants and having our students conduct research that could shape the future of hydroponic plant production.”

Students will have the ability to experiment on aspects of the controlled environment, study the research findings and help answer questions about the effects of the agricultural community in our region, state and beyond. The lab will also help students’ ability to develop and standardize hydroponic research protocols for model plants used in plant science, plants of interest and plants beneficial to the area.

The GSSM Hydroponic Research Lab has the capacity to grow nearly 8,000 plants at once. Unlike in nature, the Hydroponic Research Lab will allow the growth of a variety of plants year-round due to the advanced technology that automates and controls the environment inside the lab. The lab allows users to monitor the nutrient levels, pH, light schedules, water usage, humidity, temperature levels and air currents.

“The GSSM Hydroponic Research Lab provides unprecedented opportunities for students to engage in meaningful research on issues of worldwide significance right here on the GSSM campus in Hartsville, SC,” said GSSM Director of Research and Inquiry, Dr. Josh Witten. “Because this lab represents a unique research resource, it will also be a platform for GSSM students, faculty, and staff to collaborate with researchers beyond our campus. These innovative and immersive experiences are a hallmark of the GSSM education, which prepares students to become the problem solvers of tomorrow.”

The lab also represents a connection to the rich history and innovative future of agriculture in South Carolina. It will create the perfect platform to engage students in meaningful research while they solve real-world problems through GSSM’s proven interdisciplinary and immersive approach to education.

For more information on GSSM, visit or call 843-383-9000.

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About the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics

One of the few specialized public residential high schools of its kind, the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) exists to push motivated young learners beyond their perceived levels of academic ability. Founded in 1988 under the leadership of the late Governor Carroll Campbell, GSSM has consistently raised the bar for STEM education in the Palmetto State. GSSM’s two-year residential high school program—as well as its virtual high school program, summer camps, and outreach programs—all invite young people to explore the subjects they love in a diverse, inclusive, and uncommonly supportive academic environment. Here, challenge is viewed as a gateway to opportunity. GSSM students embrace the school’s rigorous approach to education and in so doing begin to realize their full potential. Learn more by visiting