Connecticut Invention Convention convenes at UConn's Gampel Pavilion
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Storrs - posted Mon., May. 6, 2013
According to Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC) board member Tom Foth, this year’s state gathering at UConn’s Gampel Pavilion featured 690 inventions from 160 different schools. “That represents about the top 10 percent from each local school competition,” said Toth.
So nearly 7,000 new inventions were generated through local competitions this year, which represents the CIC’s 30th anniversary. “Approximately 320 judges were involved in today’s event,” said Toth, at the May 4 Gampel Pavilion gathering. Judges represent inventors, engineers, scientists, and educators from all over the state. “The Connecticut Invention Convention is the nation’s oldest continuously-operating children’s invention competition,” said Toth.
According to the CIC website, “The Connecticut Invention Convention is an award-winning, internationally recognized, 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational program designed to develop and enhance critical thinking skills in children in grades K-8 through invention, innovation and entrepreneurship, while encouraging their interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).”
An estimated 250,000 children have experienced local CIC invention programs, according to the site.
Two of those children were Mallory Kievman and Zoe Eggleston, who were present at this year’s state convention as student members of the board. Kievman, a Manchester resident who is currently a freshman at Loomis Chaffee, is working with the UConn School of Business to market her invention, a lollipop that helps cure hiccups. “There’s a very large market,” said Kievman. “A lot of dialysis and chemotherapy patients end up suffering from hiccups.” Kievman is working to obtain a patent for her invention, which she developed for the competition when she was in the seventh grade. It works, she said, “by over-stimulating a set of nerves in the mouth and throat that are responsible for hiccups.”
Eggleston developed her invention, The Ice Device, as an eighth-grader. The device is intended to lessen the chance of breaking through thin ice on ponds by remotely measuring ice thickness. “It looks like a buoy, and you place it in the water before the ice freezes,” said Eggleston. Eggleston envisions a recreational market for her invention. She has obtained a patent, but has decided to put off marketing for the moment. Currently a senior at Newtown High School, Eggleston plans to attend the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the fall. “I plan to concentrate on school right now and take up the invention again when I can devote more attention to it,” she said.
Among the dozens of inventors recognized at this year’s statewide competition was Mia Attardi, a second-grader from Lebanon Elementary School. The school involves dozens of students every year in a local competition organized by science and enrichment teacher Carolyn Wheeler. Attardi was among the top 10 percent of inventors at the school this year. Charged with identifying a problem and then coming up with a solution, Attardi decided that “kids [including herself] don’t like to take yucky-tasting medicine,” said Wheeler. So Attardi came up with "The Medicine Chaser."
It is a double syringe medicine dropper. “Medicine goes in one syringe and a great tasting liquid goes in the other,” said Wheeler. The syringe delivers the medicine first, followed by the tasty liquid, “so that the last thing the child tastes is something good,” said Wheeler. “Isn’t that a great idea?” Wheeler said that Attardi was sick herself recently and had the opportunity to try out her invention. “She says it works great!” said Wheeler.
At the state competition, Attardi was recognized by the Petit Family Foundation as one of three young female inventors showing exceptional promise.
For more information about the Connecticut Invention Convention, go to http://www.ctinventionconvention.org/.