We are excited to announce the Williamston High School InvenTeam was recently awarded a grant of $9,900 from the Lemelson-MIT Program to create an automated, electronic device for helping students with neurodevelopmental disabilities with opening their lockers. The device, which will be light, durable and portable, will be programmed with the student's locker combination and perform the turning of the combination dial. The team, comprised of 11 students from the Williamston High School Mathematics and Science Academy, will be working to create a prototype of their invention to present at EurekaFest at the campus of MIT in June.
If you would like to help defray the cost for the team's trip to MIT in June to present their prototype, you can make a tax-deductible donation to InvenTeams through the Williamston Schools Foundation.
InvenTeams was created by the Lemelson-MIT program. InvenTeams was established to promote and support inventors and their inventions through every stage. The idea was to make a better community and encourage young people to think outside the box.
InvenTeams are teams of high school students, teachers, and mentors that receive grants up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. Each InvenTeam chooses its own problem to solve.
The process to receive an InvenTeam grant is very extensive. The first step to becoming a participant in InvenTeams is coming up with a creative and useful idea. The second step is to submit a preliminary application which highlights the the community support and an outline of the invention idea. There are hundreds of applicants each year and from those approximately the top 32 are chosen to continue on in the application process. The final application that is submitted is very lengthy. The application must include background research about the problem that is being solved, similar ideas that are on the market, our execution plan, a tentative timeline, mentors, resources, and a predicted budget. The selection committee then narrows down the top 32 to roughly 15 teams. This year they chose 14 teams to receive a grant.
Each team has 8 months to complete their invention. Throughout these months every member is very busy. There are many guidlines a team must follow. There are monthly video conferences with a representative of MIT. During each conference the team talks about progress that has recently been made and upcoming plans. Throughout the year, each team must make at least one prototype, sometimes more, and conduct research about the given problem.
In June, the teams are invited to Boston (MIT) to participate and present at EurekaFest. At EurekaFest, the teams present to MIT faculty, the public, the press, InvenTeam hopefuls, and many others.
For more information on InvenTeams, please visit the Lemelson-MIT website.
About WHS InvenTeam
There are 11 student members of the Williamston High School InvenTeam and 3 teacher advisors.
The Seniors: Kelley Catton, Robert Cheney, Jessica Glynn, John Hull, Sarah McGoff, Ethan Schrader and Garrett Smith.
The Juniors: Anna Bowling, Emma Drake, Justin Kreis and Kepler Tiedje.
The Teachers: Joe Rasmus, Steve Kersten and Dan Schab.
We have our team broken into several groups to help accomplish various tasks. Our groups include: engineering, public relations, fundraising, accounting, and website design/social media.
After being notified we were a finalist last spring, the team spent much time over the summer meeting with each other as well as potential community mentors and partners throghout the process of creating their invention. As the process begins of creating the prototype, there is much work to do, but also a tremendous sense of excitement and enthusiasm by the members of the team. We look forward to the journey!