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Connecticut's Young Einsteins Showcased at 18th Annual Invention Convention (Released: 04/02/01)

By Janice Palmer, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- The creative innovations of Connecticut's schoolchildren will be the highlight of the 18th annual Connecticut Invention Convention on Saturday, April 7, at the University of Connecticut. The event will be held at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs and hosted by UConn's School of Engineering.

Students in grades K-12 and representing 100 schools in the state will compete for a variety of awards. The 650 participants became eligible for the convention, after winning competitions in their school districts.

"The Connecticut Invention Convention is an esteem-enhancing educational opportunity that capitalizes on skills taught within a school's core curriculum. Our goal is to make education fun. If it is fun, students achieve higher levels of learning and creativity," says Charlie Baumgartner, president.

"This event is an ideal venue for the School of Engineering to introduce a new generation of Connecticut's students to the subtle appeal and profound applications of the engineering disciplines," says Amir Faghri, dean of the school. "Business and industry nationwide are battling a severe drop in engineering graduates. The Invention Convention is one way to proactively fight the decline in Connecticut."

Some of the creative contraptions from past events have included: Trashman 2000 (a system for delivering trash to garbage cans outside the home), Fast Track 2000 (a computer mouse designed for people with disabilities), night light slippers (for those middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom), and an automatic cat petter and scratcher (inflated rubber gloves mounted on a spinning wheel).

Winners of this year's contest will be selected from dozens of categories and awarded a Timex watch and a $50 U.S. Savings Bond. Several special awards will be presented on behalf of the U.S. Postal Service, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the Mystic Seaport Museum and the Connecticut Fire Marshal's office.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the convention begins with a keynote address by David Crow, senior vice president of engineering for Pratt & Whitney. Following the opening ceremony, students will showcase their inventions before teams of judges.

During the judging period, visitors are encouraged to investigate a series of child-friendly working exhibits by the UConn engineering faculty. Several demonstrations will highlight the power of fuel cells in operating toy cars and car radios.

Teachers, administrators and guidance counselors are invited to attend an informational session on engineering careers from 10:30 to11:30 a.m. in the Castleman Building.

Awards will be presented at 1:30 p.m., following a brief talk by Jose Manuel Otero, director of research and development at Mouse Specifics Inc., a biotechnology start-up.

The Connecticut Invention Convention is a non-profit program run entirely by volunteers. It is underwritten by grants and in-kind support from educational institutions and community, business and charitable organizations. In addition to the UConn School of Engineering, sponsors include the Greater Hartford Chapter of General Electric's Elfun Society, Connecticut Space Grant College Consortium, United Technologies Corp., JDS Uniphase, Connecticut Light & Power/Energy Efficiency Team, Phoenix Investment Partners, and Southern New England Telephone.

The public and media are welcome at the event.

For more information on the Connecticut Invention Convention and the students who will be participating, visit http://www.engr.uconn.edu/~cicweb or call (860) 793-5299.

Connecticut Invention Convention
UConn's Gampel Pavilion, Saturday, April 7, 2001

8 a.m. Registration

9:30 a.m. Opening Ceremony

1:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony

3 p.m. Event concludes

April 2001 Releases
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