AASD students’ invention wins

Duo in process of patenting baking product

Courtesy photo Maggie Park and Cameron Detterbeck present their invention, the Drip Grip, to judges John Krahe, Tim Craig and Lauren Johnson during the Inventionland Institute contest on May 16 in Pittsburgh.

It’s the simple ideas that are sometimes the best.

Altoona Area High School students Maggie Park and Cameron Detterbeck earned top honors at the 2019 Inventionland Institute Regional Invention contest for their creation that makes baking cleaner and more efficient.

The students are currently in the process of patenting their product.

The competition, hosted by Inventionland Institute, was held on May 16 at the company’s headquarters in Pittsburgh.

Executive Director of Inventionland Institute Nathan Field was struck by Altoona Area students’ consecutive victories in the annual competition, especially because the district has only been teaching the Inventionland course since last year.

It’s an 18-month course that was created by Inventionland. The company has helped put hundreds of products on the market by guiding inventors through a nine-step process.

The first step is to identify a problem, and the last steps involve packaging; the steps between involve brainstorming, sketching and drafting a product.

“Last January, Altoona came on board with us and bought our course that teaches the inventing process. And last spring was when they won first place. And this year they won again, which is very hard to do. Their teachers are just killing it there, which is amazing,” Field said.

In the course, students design and develop mock products that could be marketed to businesses or manufacturers. The program takes students through the nine-step process from idea to marketable product, which they then pitch to a panel of judges while competing against their peers for the top title.

In addition to the students’ victories, two Altoona teachers, Eric Stoudnour and Frank Harpster, each received an award from Inventionland recognizing a teacher or co-teaching team at each school level who has embraced science, engineering, technology, arts and math education, promoted project-based learning in their school and continuously gone above-and-beyond the typical requirements of an educator.

Field said judges were impressed with the confidence possessed by Park and Detterbeck.

“What we were impressed with the two ladies who came in is the way they spoke. I would have guessed they were college seniors, not high school seniors, because of the confidence they brought,” he said. “They came knowing they were going to win.”

High School Principal Andrew Neely said Altoona Area High School students enjoy the Inventionland course.

“It’s become a popular course. As we move more into adding other technology education courses, we will have better equipment that will allow students to do better prototyping. This course will grow,” he said.

Teams of students from Pennsylvania, Ohio and several other states pitched their own inventions to a panel of judges who range from business owners to county officials, educators and previous winners of the competitions.

The students are evaluated on their product, research and presentation skills.

Other student teams who participated in this year’s competition include Laurel Highlands High School, Burgettstown High School, Leechburg Area High School, Intermediate Unit 1’s Clark campus, Waynes­burg campus, Colonial campus, Laboratory campus and Central Cambria High School.

Mirror Staff Writer Russ O’Reilly is at 946-7435.