Georgia Student Inventors Shine in National Competition

Winners came through K-12 InVenture Challenge @ Georgia Tech

Three young inventors from the state of Georgia won major awards at  the 2017 National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo (NICEE), held on June 1-3, 2017, at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, in Alexandria, Virginia.

Katie Barry won first place in the grade 7-8 category for her invention, the Locker Hammock.

The Locker Hammock is a redesign of the standard locker shelf. The shelf consists of suction cups and fabric. The fabric gives the shelf the flexibility to fit neatly in most lockers, while the suction cups allow the shelf to attach firmly to the interior walls.

Barry is in grade 8 at J.C. Booth Middle School, in Fayetteville, Georgia. She also won a Best Log Book Award, the Household Organization industry award, and the coveted Stanley Black & Decker Most Innovative Award.

“It was such an amazing experience to be surrounded by so many talented young inventors from all across the country,” says Kathie Lanman, a teacher in Barry’s school. “The entire event was a wonderful celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship. It inspired me to strive towards developing my students into becoming the innovators of the future.”

Aja Weary won first place in the grade 9-12 category for her Head-Safe Headphones. She designed these headphones to help people on the autism spectrum who might be afraid of loud noises enjoy events such as fireworks displays.

Head-Safe Headphones have a higher noise reduction rating than comparable products. They create a calming environment by allowing the user to listen to music at a safe volume.

Weary is a senior at the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology in Conyers, Georgia. She also won a Best Log Book Award.

Evan Smith won the Earth and Geoscience Award for Alternative Oil Spill Clean-Up. This alternative proposes using basalt-based filtration systems – made from cost-effective materials – to clean up spills in streams, ponds, lakes, and oceans. Smith is in grade 11 at North Forsyth High School in Cumming, Georgia.

“The experience at the national competition was amazing,” says John S. Brock, a teacher in Smith’s school. “The support from Georgia Tech for all the Georgia participants could not have been any more complete and thoughtful. The excitement in the patent office was palpable. This competition supports the kids, our future.”

Barry, Weary, and Smith qualified to compete in NICEE by winning in the 2017 K-12 InVenture Challenge @ Georgia Tech. This regional competition was hosted by the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) on March 15, 2017.

“I am so proud of our NICEE award recipients, all 19 of our Georgia students who attended nationals, and the teachers and parents who supported these young inventors,” says Roxanne Moore, research faculty member and director of K-12 InVenture Challenge @ Georgia Tech. “The future of innovation is bright here in Georgia, and we’re showing that on a national stage.”


Written by Steven L. Taylor - CEISMC Communications

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  • Katie Barry wins multiple awards at the 2017 National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo (NICEE). Gracie Weldon, Katie Barry, Johanna Nelson (JC Booth Middle School).

For More Information Contact

Roxanne A. Moore, Ph.D.
G. W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering
Center for Education Integrating Mathematics, Science, and Computing (CEISMC)
Director, K-12 InVenture Challenge