By Ryan Blessing
Students from St. Patrick Cathedral School in Norwich and St. John Paul II School in Middletown were among the participants at the 36th annual Connecticut Invention Convention state finals. The day-long showcase of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) took place May 4 at the Harry A. Gampel Pavilion on the University of Connecticut campus in Storrs.
Four Diocesan students learned Monday that they’ve been selected to compete at the National Invention Convention at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan taking place at the end of May. Only 160 Connecticut students out of the 1,200 at the state event are selected to go.
“You wowed the judges, impressed the crowds and proudly represented your schools,” Executive Director Susan Mostowy said, addressing the more than 1,200 students from across the state who displayed their inventions.
Students from St. Patrick Cathedral who took home Recognized Inventor Awards were eighth grader Jillian Corl and sixth graders Sophia Hamel and Wess Drowne.
“The Spice Saver basically saves spices from getting all over the place,” Jillian, 12, explained. “I made it out of 3-D printed materials.” She used the engineering program Solid Works to design and print the device, a type of funnel that easily attaches to a spice bottle to make pouring easier.
Sophia made the Trash Travel, a trash can with swiveling wheels and adjustable handles, similar to a luggage case. “It’s for people who have a hard time bringing the trash cans down in their driveway,” Sophia, 14, said.
In addition, Wess was invited to attend the national competition and show his invention, the Water Life, a device that serves as a water filtration and power system for gutter water.
Recognized Inventor Award winners from St. John Paul II Regional School were sixth-graders Lauren Carta for Hands-Free Sanitizer 4000 and Emma Caruso for the Sensory Sunflower, seventh-grade student Will Despres for X-O Germ and Mariana Duong-Vazquez, the eighth-grade inventor of the Cozy Gown, designed to keep hospital patients warm.
“I made this invention because last summer my grandmother got extremely sick,” and needed hospitalization, she said. She stumbled upon some everyday hospital problems, such as difficulty removing the hospital gown, and being cold without a blanket. The soft fabric gown has snap-on sleeves that make it easy to insert intravenous needles into a patient’s arms or check blood pressure. A loop on the gown acts as an IV bag holder. It also has front and back openings for monitors and to make examinations easier. “Anyone could wear a Cozy Gown. It solves many hospital-related problems with just one solution,” she said.
Lauren, Mariana and Will now get the chance to attend the national convention as well.
Leilani Duong-Vazquez, in the sixth grade at St. John Paul II, displayed the Sniffle n’ Snuggle, a new way of making sure facial tissues are always nearby while a person is sleeping.