Williamston High School InvenTeam
Congratulations to the Williamston High School InvenTeam for being selected to the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams program for the 2019-20 school year. They received a $10,000 grant to build their invention, an autonmous device capable of identifying and collecting the small plastic debris on beaches that is missed by current beach cleaning methods. They will spend the year building a prototype and travel to Washington, D.C. in June to present.
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 14 student members of the Williamston High School InvenTeam and 2 teacher advisors.
The Seniors: Will Bellinger, Cam Denk, Amanda, Jaworsky, Katelyn Kersten, Gabe Lounsbury, Noah Palmatier, Nick Rubeck, Faith Schafer, Allyson Suandi.
The Juniors: Ethan Egger, Emmett Fountain, Owen Gulick, Trucy Truong-Phan, Jack Schafer.
The Teachers: Joe Rasmus and Steve Kersten.
We have our team broken into several groups to help accomplish various tasks. Our groups include: engineering/social media, public relations, fundraising, accounting, and programming.
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 throughout 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!