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Aaron Wartner
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Winners Announced for First Ever
San Antonio Invention Convention

Over 70 Students Participate as Part of
Global STEM Ecosystem Conference
Last week, 76 students from two local San Antonio schools participated in the first ever San Antonio Invention Convention. Organized in conjunction with a major conference of over 500 STEM professionals, the 2020 Spring Community of Practice Convening presented by STEM Ecoysystems, the competition took place at the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology and was coordinated by several local and national organizations, including the Museum, The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation's Invention Convention Worldwide, STEM Ecoysystems, the Alamo STEM Ecosystem, The Lemelson Foundation, Broadcom Foundation, Qualcomm, and the Samueli Foundation.

This is the first time this in-school program has launched in San Antonio, with pilot programs at Price Elementary and CAST STEM High School. Invention Convention Worldwide, a coalition of invention education interests globally, worked with the Alamo STEM Ecosystem to train local teachers in how to teach invention and entrepreneurship to young students.

Winners include:

First Prize, Elementary School: Beauty in a Minute
Esmeralda Guevara
5th Grade, Price Elementary School
With the goal of making life easier for women who appreciate makeup, Esmeralda’s invention is a mask made of paper plates and plastic droppers. “Put the plate on your face and in a minute the makeup is applied,” she says. There is also an option for facial exfoliation.

Second Prize, Elementary School: Sover Board
Max Martinez
5th Grade, Price Elementary School
Using string, recycled lunch trays from the school cafeteria and used tires from a small car, Max created a hoverboard "that is wider to make it safer and a more enjoyable ride”.  

Third Place, Elementary School: The Winfinity Phone
Gabriel Carrion
4th Grade, Price Elementary School
No WiFi? No problem, thanks to Gabriel’s invention. Using coffee filters and plastic straws, “plug the antenna to your phone and voila, WiFi!”

First Prize AND BEST IN SHOW , High School: Multi-Use Jacket
Alberto Alvarez, Elise Escobar, Savanna Martinez, Kiara Zamora, and Natalie Zepeda
10th Grade, CAST STEM High School
Addressing problems faced by the homeless, this team’s invention is more of a tool than a garment. Using build-in “smart” weather-sensing technology, it is a tent jacket, a backpack, an umbrella and much more. 

Second Prize, High School: Deficit Well
Kevin Chavez, Misael Hernandez, Mary Naw, Karina Ramos and Jacob Ybarra   
10th Grade, CAST STEM High School
This team of inventors focused on preventing the spread of cholera in Sa Pa, Vietnam’s Cat Cat Village. “Our product is a water wheel with an extension at the bottom that will contain activated charcoal and aqua tabs to clean the flowing water of the river.”

Third Prize: High School: The Litter Critter
Pablo Martinez, Ronde Mims, Thai Nguyen, Rogelio Rodriquez and Bryan Vela
9th Grade, CAST STEM High School
“Through research, we know if there is dirt or impurities in recyclables; the entire batch with get thrown into landfills,” the team explains. “Our invention shreds up recyclables so it saves space and can be easier for the washing feature to wash out the dirt and impurities so the recyclables can be taken to the recycling facilities.” 

People's Choice: Cat Dispenser 3000
Jay Bermea
1st Grade, Price Elementary School
Not a fan of getting your hands dirty when feeding your cat? Jay’s invention allows your cat to use a teeter totter-like tool to self-feed using a tube and a straw. 

The Invention Convention Worldwide program operates formal programs across the U.S. and in 10 countries globally, with over 120,000 elementary through high school students taking part each year. The Henry Ford’s initiative hopes that ecosystems throughout the U.S. will be inspired by the event and consider adopting similar models within their own communities.

The Alamo STEM Ecosystem co-hosted the event with Mexico City’s STEM Ecosystem, Movimiento STEM. The Convening focused on a new education paradigm called Invention Education which encourages problem identification, experimentation, collaboration, critical thinking, and hands-on engagement to inspire and equip students to solve real-world challenges, and prepare them for an ever-changing future.

“In San Antonio, we value the importance of invention education as a way of giving students an opportunity to apply STEM and design skills to solve real challenges by including prototypes of their inventions," said Dr. Raul “Rudy” A. Reyna, Lead for the Alamo STEM Ecosystem and a member of the Board of Trustees for SAMSAT. “A partnership with Invention Convention Worldwide provides an exciting next step for our students to deepen their current science, technology, engineering and math work in the classroom, and to discover new opportunities to apply their skills.”

"Additionally, in conjunction with the STEM Ecosystem Community of Practice Convening coming to town, and generously hosting their opening reception at the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology, San Antonio will continue to advance its work towards developing the next generation workforce in our communities,” Reyna added.

The Invention Convention Worldwide community teaches students to identify a problem in their lives, or that of their families, and invent a solution utilizing an engineering and design cycle curriculum that is taught in the schools as part of their STEMIE (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, plus Invention and Entrepreneurship) curriculum.

"This is an exciting opportunity for both the public and STEM experts to experience first-hand the power of invention education – all students should be being trained in the life-long skills of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship," says Danny Briere, Chief Entrepreneur Officer and Global Director of Invention Convention Worldwide. “So many of these students will enter the workforce only to find that the jobs landscape has changed since they started their K-12 career. Having an innovative mindset and being a trained problem-solver will never go out of style and prepare them for any job in the future."

“With Invention Convention, our goal is to inspire students around the world to be next generation problem solvers, regardless of backgrounds and barriers,” said Patricia Mooradian, president & CEO, The Henry Ford. “We are honored to partner with the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology in order to bring the program to this community for the first time, especially during the same time thought leaders are gathered to discuss the importance of STEM education.”

More information about the National Invention Convention is available at www.inventionconvention.org .