Central Oregon Students Win Inventerprise 2011 Contest

November 18, 2011

Even a first grader can tell you that there are some scary things out there. Consider spiders, climate change, floods, storms, darkness, and shots to name a few.  However, Central Oregon students have a multitude of ideas on how to cope with these fears.

Winners were announced this week from among more than 1,000 students who unveiled their ideas in this year’s annual Inventerprise science contest, which is sponsored by Bend Research Inc., with help from COCC and Bend-La Pine Schools.

Students from 30 Central Oregon schools in grades K-12 competed for cash and other prizes in the annual creative science contest, which is now in its 20th year.  In this year’s contest, students were challenged to invent an original product or process that protects people from something scary.

Three high-school students won cash for their ideas.  Kingston Steele, a Madras High School senior, won the $1,000 first-place prize in the high-school division for his self-locking pulley, belay, and zip-line system to protect rock climbers from accidental falls.  Henry Mensing and Zach Giesler, both of Summit High School, will share the $500 second-place prize for their respective devices: a road de-icing system and a system to protect frequent fliers from radiation exposure at high altitude.

In the middle-school division, there was a tie for the grand prize.  Alex Moore of Cascade Middle School won for his dog vest that keeps pets calm during disturbances.  Seth McGuire and Kyle Taylor of Pilot Butte Middle School submitted the other grand-prize entry, offering a lightweight-absorbent alternative to sandbags for flood protection.  For their prize, the three middle-school students will each choose from among an iPodÒ, an ebook reader, a mountain bike, a digital camera, and a season pass to Mount Bachelor.

Hundreds of students in lower grades submitted entries, either individually or in teams of up to three.  Students at each grade level will receive prizes for their efforts, along with an invitation to a special Science Night program held in their honor at the Bend Research laboratories in Tumalo.

In this year’s contest, many students proposed ideas for people who fear sharks.  One second-grader’s solution was a swim vest that uses the same chemistry used by electric eels to deliver shocks to the water around the swimmer to keep sharks at bay.  Others proposed devices to generate annoying underwater sounds at frequencies that drive sharks away.  

 Indiana Jones isn’t the only one who fears snakes. Students proposed devices that can be worn as ankle guards or that emit sprays that can freeze snakes in their tracks.

 Spiders got a lot of attention too. Manually operated suction devices were suggested in a few entries. Another second-grader submitted a hat with a tissue dispenser to always be at the ready when an arachnid threatens.

 Afraid of the dark?  A first-grader’s solution is to pull your blanket over your head and use a breathing-mask snorkel for a supply of fresh air while hiding out. Others deal with darkness by using lighted slippers or light-equipped goggles.  Afraid of strangers?  How about a hat with whistle attached? Afraid of your little brother grabbing a hot pan off the stove? A fourth-grader has a sensor system to sound the alarm when he approaches.

 Environmental and natural disasters drew responses from many participants.  A fifth-grader proposed a filtration system that could be deployed when pollution or biological contamination is detected in waterways.  Another student designed an earthquake-ready bed frame to protect from cave-ins.

Winners at each grade level, and the schools they attend, are listed below.  

Inventerprise 2011 Winners


Lilly Audette, Neve Gerard, Cascades Academy, Bend.

Kellen Annunziata, Brian Maloney, Kianna Zuniga, Geneva Grube, Hailey Lakin, St. Francis School, Bend.

Ever Blackwood, Isabelle Pate, Westside Village School, Bend.

Skylar Holmdahl, Van Holland, Morning Star Christian School, Bend.

Peter Vrbata, Highland School, Bend.

Grade 1

Max Moses, Morning Star Christian School, Bend.

Riley Cole, Cruz Kolb, High Lakes Elementary School, Bend.

Rilee Credicott, Logan Douglas, William Stull, Wynter Barlow, Westside Village School, Bend.

Claire McDonald, Highland School, Bend.

 Grade 2               

Hollie Lewis, Sisters Elementary School, Bend.

Julie Schwam, Jayda Kunkel, St. Thomas Academy, Redmond.

Soren Kocurek-Orr, Cascades Academy, Bend.

Piper Brannin, Cambrian Leaver, Caedmon Burgtorf, Morning Star Christian School.

Elijah Cook, Westside Village School, Bend.

 Grade 3               

Sierra Gawlowski, Elk Meadow Elementary School, Bend.

Elizabeth Fleenor, Dade Wilson, St. Thomas Academy, Redmond.

Yoana Valerio, Madison Pattenaude, Fiona White, Buff Elementary School, Madras.

Karlyn Breitbach, Skyler Jones, Daytona Cousino-Cook, Derek McEathron, Jacob Scofield, Emalie Pettis, Wade Guthrie, Bronson Beuhring, Addison Dorning, Zane Kurpinsky, Kayleen Pena, Tom McCall Elementary School, Redmond.

Grade 4               

Jed Knorr, Isabel Torres, Vern Patrick Elementary School, Redmond.

Kacee Baggett, Miriam Vasquez, Buff Elementary  School, Madras.

Sarah Sessions, Lava Ridge Elementary School, Bend.

Douglas Shaw, Ponderosa Elementary School, Bend.

Bailey Smith, Skyla Patrick, Leanne Stirling, Sierra Soltani, Aspen Geisen, Olivia Croft, Connor McCue, Karlee Cochenour, Lynnea Andersen, Audrey McKenzie, Brandon Roberts, Dusty Thornton, Tom McCall Elementary School, Redmond.

Bailee Carpenter, Chase Korish, Emma Wear, Bear Creek Elementary School, Bend.

Liliana Conrad, Jared Charney Cohen, Ethan Barker, Tanner Steele, Seth Hatton, Taylor Ashby, Bodhi Jones-Brown, Reagan Russell, Juniper Elementary School, Bend.

Grade 5             

Nathan Bowin, Michael Wakeman, Matthew Wakeman, Bella Fassett, Natalie Clark, Nick Giesler, Juniper Elementary School, Bend.

Liv Downing, Paxton Carson, Madeleine Meade, Seven Peaks School, Bend.

Amanda Mooney, Elizabeth Roundtree, Owen Goodrich, Berkley Puckett, Tom McCall Elementary School, Redmond.

Quentin Logan, Joshua Samuel, Sam Brocato, Piper Loveless, Genevieve Lannin, Taylor Stone, Ponderosa Elementary School, Bend.

Ben Gallagher, Cody VandenBosch, Sandro Ditta, Cascades Academy, Bend.

Lisa Dubisar, Gavin Schmidt, Buff Elementary School, Madras.

Carson Mergenthaler, St. Francis School, Bend.

Middle School 

Sonja Kinney, Westside Village School, Bend.

Sonya Arnis, Isabella Harris, Aubrey Stewart, Pilot Butte Middle School, Bend.

Kira Povis, Candelaria Rosales, Jared Holliday, Nathan Stovall, Jefferson County Middle School, Madras.

Craig Holtzclaw, Nick Berning, Brenna Daly, Brianna Leary, Maya Foster-Wexler, Sean Ryan, Cascade Middle School, Bend.

Josh Renton, Ben Griswold, Ashlyn Newcomb, Martine Blank, Grant Mansour, Thomas Wimberly, Dixie Davila, Alexa Peterkin, Morgan Tien, Cascades Academy, Bend.

Middle School  Grand Prize (Tie)            

Alex Moore, Cascade Middle School, Bend.

Seth McGuire, Kyle Taylor, Pilot Butte Middle School, Bend.

High School       

First Place --  Kingston Steele, Madras High School.

Second Place (Tie)  -- Henry Mensing, Summit High School and Zach Giesler, Summit High School.