A student team from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy is one of only 16 high school teams nationwide, and the only one from Illinois, to receive a 2008-2009 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant. InvenTeams are teams of high school students, teachers and mentors that receive grants up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. This year’s InvenTeams were selected based on ingenuity and demonstrated potential in creative thinking.
|IMSA InvenTeams members work with a wooden mold created by Manny Hernandez, associate professor in the School of Art at Northern Illinois University, used for pressing experimental ceramic disc water filters.|
IMSA’s successful proposal, a low-cost, durable water filtration system for developing countries, seeks to supply sanitary water to meet the household needs of a family in developing countries with minimal or no external power at a targeted annual cost of $20.00 or less. The initial two-stage filter design has a pre-filter based upon existing pottery filtration methods and a novel second stage utilizing engineered materials and a mechanism to clean it in the field.
IMSA science faculty member and team sponsor Dr. Mark Carlson of Naperville said he is very proud of his team and the real-world learning opportunities it presents for IMSA students.
“The students came to me with this project because they have a sincere interest in helping the least advantaged people of the world,” Dr. Carlson said. “In the course of this project they have learned how to be creative and self-directed. The students have set goals, met deadlines and have worked collaboratively with their peers as well as faculty and staff members.”
The InvenTeam initiative, which ignites passion for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), is designed to excite high school students about invention through hands-on learning, while encouraging an inventive culture in schools and communities long-term (visit http://web.mit.edu/inventeams/).
IMSA President Dr. Max McGee said the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam initiative is the perfect example of how IMSA students can use their talents in STEM fields to make a positive, lasting contribution to our world.
“I am thrilled IMSA students have this unique opportunity to showcase their talents in immeasurable ways that go beyond a test score or grading rubric,” McGee said. “By using their combined creativity, passion and talents, they are helping to advance the human condition in real ways by trying to provide a most basic human need to those in developing countries,” he added.
“These students represent a new generation of inventors,” says Leigh Estabrooks, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s invention education officer. “They will use the tools they gain during their InvenTeam experience as inspiration for what we hope is a lifetime of inventive thinking and doing,” she said.
In June, IMSA’s InvenTeam will showcase their water filtration prototype at EurekaFest, a multi-day celebration of the inventive spirit presented by the Lemelson-MIT Program at MIT in Cambridge, Mass.
The internationally recognized Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (IMSA) develops creative, ethical leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As a teaching and learning laboratory created by the State of Illinois, IMSA enrolls academically talented Illinois students (grades 10-12) in its advanced, residential college preparatory program, and it serves thousands of educators and students in Illinois and beyond through innovative instructional programs that foster imagination and inquiry. IMSA also advances education through research, groundbreaking ventures and strategic partnerships. (www.imsa.edu)
About the Lemelson-MIT Program
The Lemelson-MIT Program recognizes outstanding inventors, encourages sustainable new solutions to real-world problems, and enables and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.
Jerome H. Lemelson, one of U.S. history’s most prolific inventors, and his wife Dorothy founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. The Lemelson Foundation, which funds the program, is a private philanthropy that celebrates and supports inventors and entrepreneurs to strengthen social and economic life.
Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy InvenTeam Members
Student Name Hometown
Mark Meyer Algonquin
Sharada Dharmasankar Aurora
Brian Flynn Bartlett
Saurin Shah Bloomington
Nichole Evans Bolingbrook
Arjun Nayini Burr Ridge
Anil Vaitla Chicago
Frederick Damen Chicago
Terence Zhao Chicago
Jonathan Czerwonka Crystal Lake
Michael Gleeson Downers Grove
Anthony Carusiello Lemont
Melissa Tao Lisle
Ray Gu Long Grove
Bob Lee Naperville
Eric Lin Naperville
Eric Shyu Naperville
Grant Skudlarek Oak Park
Justina Cho Orland Park
Alexander Drummond Quincy
Anne Pipathsouk Rockford
Solomon Nittala Roselle
Luis Carbajal Shorewood
Jennifer Roderick Taylor Ridge
Julian Moore West Dundee
Nathaniel Simpson Winslow