Chicagoland students win four awards at the National Invention Convention following citywide competition and Chicago Innovation’s announcement of statewide expansion to join U.S. states affiliated with Invention Convention Worldwide, a global K-12 invention education program.

June 7, 2022 — Chicago, IL —  On Friday, June 3rd, four Chicagoland students won national awards out of more than 147,000 students in the US who participated in the program this year.  The national competition followed Chicago Innovation’s citywide showcase and awards ceremony that took place on May 21st to recognize city finalists and to celebrate the program’s tenth year and the over 20,000 students it has reached since its inception. Speakers included Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez as well as Kelli Easterly, Executive Director of STEM for Chicago Public Schools, and Patricia Mooradian, President and CEO at The Henry Ford.

“Opportunities like this for students to take a hands-on approach to learning are crucial to helping them discover their interests and passions,” said Chicago Public Schools CEO Martinez.  “This program will continue to highlight our students’ creativity and brilliance for many years to come.” 

Kristi Dula, Deputy Director of the Illinois Office of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Technology, also joined the event to announce the state’s support of Chicago Innovation’s plans to expand statewide and become the Illinois Student Invention Convention.  “Fostering creativity, problem solving, and resilience well before high school is critical to preparing our youth for the jobs of tomorrow and shaping them into the next generation of innovators,” said Deputy Director Dula. 

This Illinois expansion will cultivate and highlight young innovators across the state starting in the school year 2023-2024. Deputy Director Dula invited school districts, universities, and after-school programs across Illinois to partner with the Chicago Innovation team during the planning and pilot year that kicks off in September 2022.

During the May 21st event, 36 winning students in grades K-8 received prizes that included: connecting students to technology leaders at Molex for further development of their ideas, free prototyping services from mHUB (the midwest’s leading physical product innovation center), and free non-provisional patent services from Thompson Coburn LLP.  All winning students and their invention videos can be found here.

The 14 top scoring students then competed last Friday, June 3rd at the National Invention Convention held at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Multiple Chicagoland students took home prizes at the national competition including: 

  • Quest Academy student Paige Timpe won 2nd place in the 5th grade category for her invention Bubble: The Digital Guide for Preventing Strong Emotions, a wristband that can detect your pulse and decrease the length and intensity of temper tantrums. 
  • Chicago State University’s PREP Program students Austin Ewing and Ifeoma Okolo won 3rd place in the 8th grade category for their team’s invention Ambrosia Auto: Engineering for Social Justice, a self-watering garden built on top of a solar-powered autonomous car that can deliver food to food deserts. This team also won the Specialty Award for Inclusion which recognizes an invention that helps people of all backgrounds feel respected, valued and supported. The award prize includes a $1000 scholarship. 
  • Teen Innovators’ Vedansh Wadhwani won 2nd place in the 8th grade category for his invention DroneAssist which utilizes wearable technology in the form of a glove to operate drones and RC vehicles. 

This year’s Chicago Student Invention Convention was made possible by sponsors including Molex, Horizon Therapeutics, Milwaukee Tool, CME Group Foundation, MaetaData, Cigna, Aberdeen Advisors, Radio Flyer, and WBBM Newsradio.