Milford Invention Convention finalists advance to nationals
Ten young inventors who competed at this year’s Milford Invention Convention in March were among the 1,200 students that participated in the 36th Annual Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC) on Saturday, May 4. Quinn Willet received the Boehringer Ingelheim Cares Foundation Life Sciences Award, while Harshitha Kothapalli, Riley Simons and Shriya Vaid were chosen for CIC Recognized Inventor Awards and invited to attend the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo (NICEE) in Dearborn, MI, later this month.
Jonathan Law High School students Nihitha Kothapalli and Rachna Vipparla, and Engineering and Science University Magnet School (ESUMS) 8th grader Praneeth Chitirala, also received awards at the statewide convention and will represent Milford at NICEE. Rachna received six awards for her invention, Nico-Sense, which can detect the presence of nicotine emitted by electronic cigarettes and vaping in schools.
The Milford Education Foundation, which began its citywide Milford Invention Convention in 2014, has supported the local program for elementary and middle school children through its partnerships with the Milford Public Schools, the Boys and Girls Club of Milford and the Milford Public Library. “It is wonderful to watch students pursue their passions in the areas of innovation and technology – and the ability to enter state-level competitions, through the opportunities offered by groups like the Milford Education Foundation,” said Dr. Anna Cutaia, Superintendent of Milford Public Schools.
Riley Simons, a sixth grader at East Shore Middle School, invented Brace-Ace, a coconut oil-based application that allows kids with braces to enjoy sticky candies without them clinging to their teeth. She attributed her success to “working very hard, experimenting, and perhaps the most important thing...confidence.” As an inventor, you should “try to help as many people as you can,” said Riley.
East Shore Enrichment teacher Meghan Kim helped prepare Riley for the event and has guided dozens of students through the process. Kim notes that the Invention Convention curriculum inspires more than inventing: “Students become engineers, public speakers, marketeers, researchers and problem solvers. Each journey is unique; every student learns about themselves and grows along the path to enacting positive change in the world.”
The Foundation will sponsor a “Meet the Inventors” fundraiser breakfast on Sunday, May 26, at Eli’s Tavern in Downtown Milford from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. All proceeds will help subsidize the cost of attending the national convention at the Henry Ford Museum the following week. Advance tickets are recommended and can be purchased online for $10 each at www.milfordedfoundation.org/inventors.
MEF is also accepting direct donations on behalf of students who will attend the national convention. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.