It's never too early to begin putting your innovative STEM ideas into action -- like those of these fascinating teen inventors you will meet:
Andrea Li is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va. There, she is team captain of the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam where she has combined her love of biology and math to lead a bioengineering project aimed at developing a novel emotive aid device for young autistic children to facilitate social interactions and the development of meaningful relationships for such individuals.
Rohan Punnoose, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology where he is the student lead for the TJ3Sat Satellite Initiative, which in November 2013 became the first satellite built by a high school to go into space. He also leads an array of other aerospace projects at Thomas Jefferson, including TJ3Sat, Project SOAR, a rocket-deployed UAV and an all-terrain rocket-deployed rover.
In addition to Andrea and Rohan, you'll meet these amazing teen innovators from the Festival's Youth Advisory Panel:
Sixteen-year-old Adora Svitak will serve as emcee of the Expo's Teen Inventors presentation. She has been exploring what she can do with the written word since age 4: everything from championing literacy to raising awareness about world hunger. She taught her first class at a local elementary school the year her first book, Flying Fingers, debuted. At age 12, she delivered the speech, "What Adults Can Learn from Kids", at the prestigious TED conference. That video received more than one million views and has been translated into over 40 different languages.
Param Jaggi, age 18, has been formally researching environmental and energy technologies since age 12. When he was 14, he designed a highly effective algae bio-reactor using household materials. Param is currently a junior at Vanderbilt University where last summer he founded EcoViate, a green-tech startup that focuses on inexpensive, efficient and disposable green products.
Jack Andraka, a 16-year old Baltimore high-school student, recently set the medical science community abuzz by developing (at age 15) an innovative diagnostic test that detects pancreatic cancer and is 368 times more sensitive, 150 times quicker and 26,000 times cheaper than the medical standard. This research innovation earned him more than $100,000, including the grand prize of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Youth Award.
Ritankar Das, 18, is the youngest University Medalist (top graduating senior) in UC Berkeley’s recorded history. He is now a Master of Science degree candidate in bioengineering at Oxford. At UC Berkeley he served as an Academic Senator where he helped manage a $1.7 billion budget and founded the Berkeley Chemical Review research journal. Ritankar, who began researching alternative energy at age 12, has been lauded by the Smithsonian as a “future Nobel Laureate.”
Jonny Cohen, age 18, is a Columbia University mechanical engineering student who in 7th grade used his curiosity and prowess in science to invent an aerodynamically shaped air shield (known as Greenshield) for the front of school buses that reduces fuel use by 10 percent. The GreenShield redirects the airflow, decreases drag and increasing gas mileage, saving money for school districts and decreasing CO2 emissions. Jonny has been recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Energy list twice, and was named a prestigious Ashoka Youth Venture winner in 2012.