Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

To ignite and nurture creative, ethical, scientific minds that advance the human condition.

Local Teens win Business Venture Prizes for Oil Recovery Method and Smart Cane

Aurora, IL, April 12, 2018 – Three high school juniors and one seventh grader won IMSA’s annual Power Pitch Competition for an oil recovery method using iron nanoparticles and electromagnetics and a smart cane that provides communication between the elderly and their caregivers.

The team of Marisa Patel-O’Connor, Eden Gorevoy and Sol Hwangbo from IMSA won the top prize for The Oil Magnet, and Umika Arora from Saint Catherine Laboure School in Glenview wowed the judges with iCane.

These were among 31 teams of budding middle and high school entrepreneurs to participate in the annual business pitch competition for students in grades 7 through 12. The local competition is based on the ABC television program, Shark Tank and — just like on TV — students had the chance to pitch their tech venture and social venture ideas to real-world business professionals.

Akshaya Raghavan, a junior at IMSA, also brought home second place for Rethink Numeracy, a curriculum for teaching number skills to students with learning disabilities. Joining Raghavan on the second place podium were Sivan Bhatt and Nikhil Madugula, IMSA seniors, for Flameless, a fire extinguishing system using low frequency sound wave.

Eight graders, Monika Narain from Mead Junior High in Schaumburg and Jayant Kumar from Granger Middle School in Naperville, rounded out the top honors with epilEXPERT, an early warning epilepsy monitoring device that detects the onset of seizures and provides information to physicians.

Cash prizes were presented by program sponsors Charles Whittaker ’07,, and After the Peanut.

The top three high school winners, The Oil Magnet, Rethink Numeracy and Flameless advance to the Next Launch regional pitch competition in Indiana.

IMSA’s Power Pitch, hosted by the Academy’s TALENT program, is designed to help middle and high school students build and launch STEM business ventures. Interested teens may take advantage of TALENT workshops, mentors, internships, summer camps, pitch competitions and IMSA's membership in 1871, Chicagoland's acclaimed incubator for digital startups. For more information about IMSA’s TALENT program, visit, or e-mail Dr. Carl Heine at