CSO Blog

Elected advocates for STEM and innovation in schools and communities.
February 5, 2019 //

Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam in Casa Grand

Author: Jasper Pena

Hi, my name is Merlin. I am an Arizona Chief Science Officer at Casa Grande Union High School. As a Chief Science Officer, I have been given the opportunity to share my passion for STEM. A Chief Science Officer is an ambassador for STEM, who is given the chance to provide exposure to other students and the community on STEM. Through our annual leadership CSO camp and events throughout the year, students are given the tools to facilitate events and participate in the community. This is my second year as a CSO, and the skills that being a CSO has taught me, has allowed me the opportunity to implement that teaching in my role as the Administrative Lead for the Casa Grande Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam.

The Lemelson-MIT program is a chance for students to pursue creative inventions to solve a problem in their community. This program was created with the intent of giving student voices an outlet through leadership and creative problem solving (exactly like the CSO program). It starts with receiving an Excite Award (35 in total are chosen) these educators receive this award and travel to MIT where they see other InvenTeams from the previous year in which they learn about the application process for the Final Application or proposal of the student invention. The next step is the Final Application/proposal. Students form a group with a limit of 5 students and a maximum of 15. Together they find a problem in their community that needs a solution not already implemented, through an invention. These students then create a proposal explaining the context of their invention and the specifications it has. A review is conducted by university professors, inventors, entrepreneurs, intellectual property lawyers, industry professionals and college students at MIT, Harvard and a different variety of schools. A group of students who win are awarded a 10,000-dollar grant dedicated to just building the invention. They build and prototype to then showcase the finished product at Eureka Fest in June at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Our Casa Grande InvenTeam consists of eight students in total (CSO Chloe, Matthew, Genevieve, Amberlyn, Garrett, Travis, Madison and myself). We are creating a Fire Defense Initiative that will help communities with a risk of wildfires. Our activated firefighting device will prevent the spread of wildfires in indefensible neighborhoods. Homeowners are the intended audience, and they will have the ultimate benefit of a saved house. Our invention provides financial and emotional security for a house and is made with the intent of preventing homes from being the fuel to a fire. Our team works together to build and prototype, with the mentorship of our teacher Mr. Morris (recipient of the Excite Award). All of our jobs collide to build the invention. My job as an administrative lead on the team includes a variety of things, but all of the values and responsibilities I have are similar to what a CSO does and is taught. The work ethic you must have and the commitment to try and revolutionize your community is what the Lemelson-MIT program provides you with the tools to do so, as does the CSO program. “Don’t just hope it happens, make it happen”, is the motto for the CSO program, but it is applicable to our team too.

In June we will be heading to Boston, Massachusetts. We were fortunate enough to be the first Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam in Casa Grande and one of the teams of fifteen to be awarded this money in the United States of America. Our team was the only team in Arizona to win this year

and we were happy and grateful we won. We would appreciate any support and help. Thank you in advance.

Attached are newspaper articles and program releases. https://www.pinalcentral.com/casa_grande_dispatch/area_news/cguhs-team-one-of-accepted-for-national-competition/article_1cfff4dd-7b41-515f-b654-886d19ee5fa5.html https://lemelson.mit.edu/teams/inventeam/341

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