Central Oregon Students Win Inventerprise 2012 Contest

November 19, 2012

Observations of nature inspire inventions.  Almost twelve-hundred Central Oregon students were inspired by characteristics of living organisms to create inventions that solve a problem in Inventerprise 2012, the annual science problem solving contest sponsored by Bend Research, with help from Bend-La Pine Schools and Central Oregon Community College.

Winners were announced this week from entries submitted by around 1170 students who unveiled their ideas in this year’s annual Inventerprise contest.

Students from 25 Central Oregon schools and homeschoolers in grades K-12 competed for cash and other prizes in the annual contest, which is now in its 21st year.  In this year’s event, students were challenged to use the characteristics of an organism as inspiration to design an invention that solves a problem.  Students could choose their own format for their entries, such as posters, models, reports, etc.

Two Summit High School students tied for first place in the High School division.  Ian Burbage, sophomore, and Kathryn Simpson, junior, won $500 each for their first place entries. Burbage drew inspiration from an armadillo to design a collapsible, portable individual emergency shelter to be used for protection in dangerous environments. Simpson’s inspiration was the Arctic wooly caterpillar whose blood contains antifreeze to help it survive in extreme cold.  Her idea is to use antifreeze in human surgery as an anesthetic with fewer side effects than current practice. Four other Summit High School students receive Honorable Mention for their entries and will pocket $200 each; Seniors Alan Marshal, Nikki Weber, and Blake Kaufman, and Junior Hadley Schoderbek. 

In the middle-school division, the grand prize is awarded to Nick Giesler, a 6th grade student at Cascade Middle School.  His winning entry drew inspiration from trees which use incredible capillary forces to move water from their roots to treetops.  His invention would use a similar system to pump water and then use it to drive a turbine. For his prize, he can choose from among an iPodÒ, an ebook reader, a mountain bike, a GoPro camera, a tablet computer, and a season pass to Mount Bachelor.

Hundreds of students in lower grades submitted entries, either individually or in teams of up to three.  Several 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, defensive strategies by plants and animals inspired many students.  The porcupine was inspiration for a backpack that that protects the wearer by releasing needle-like projectiles. A cobra inflates its neck for protection. Two Sisters students used this scheme as a backpacker’s bear-protection inflatable helmet. And a Bend 4th grader took trees’ sap defense and applied it to ship hulls for protection from minor punctures.

Some peculiar characteristics of organisms provided some great ideas. Nikki Weber of Summit High suggests using catch collagen from sea cucumbers as a wound dressing in humans because of its ability to rapidly turn from liquid to solid, shortening healing times. The amazing strength of spider silk inspired several inventions, such as using silk in ligament reconstruction (high school winner Blake Kaufman), and as a catch net for people prone to falling out of bed as suggested by a Redmond 4th grade student.

Chameleons inspired the design of many different clothing items for both stealth and fun. The photosynthetic capabilities of plants was fodder for several different energy-capturing outdoor outfits.

Kangaroos inspired one Redmond 3rd grader to install springs on her running shoes. Another 3rd grader took a cue from the water strider to invent a floating wheel-chair. Marine mammals were inspiration for a fat filled coat liner, and the way starfish consume their prey gave Cascades Academy 6th graders the idea for long-lasting tooth protection.

Winners at each grade level, and the schools they attend, are listed below.  Additional information can be found at http://inventerprise.bendresearch.com.

Inventerprise 2012 Winners 

Kindergarten          Austin Harder, Will Mowry, Logan Gonzales, Westside Village Magnet School.

                               Jack Gaines, Ina Link, Julia McLean, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School.

                                Chloe Gibson,    St. Thomas Academy.

                                Lucas Triplett, Kellen Rather, Cascades Academy.


Grade 1                   Autumn Linville, Natalie Wright, Paige Coppage, Savannah Woods, Gabriel Coder, Skylar Holmdahl, Nathan Kerr, Brooke Lucas, Morning Star Christian School.

                                Lilann Hammack, Emily Kallus, Camille Leahey, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School.

                                Lucy Stancliff, John Tuck Elementary.

                                Ty Bueker, Seth Rozek, Westside Village Magnet School.


Grade 2                   Claire McDonald, Highland Magnet at Kenwood.

                                Benji Smock, Westside Village Magnet School.

                                Megan McGuire, Evens Peters, Monroe Freeling, Andy Rossi, Tyler Smith, Liam Gilman, David Roe, Chloe Nixon, Mikayla Pohl, Sophia Barreras, Abigail O’Shei, St.Francis of Assisi Catholic School.

                                Jade Judson, Madison Kennedy, Kenny Morgan, Kellen Sinay, Tumalo Community School.

                                Payton Hornell, Ivy Phillips, Cascades Academy.


Grade 3                   Soren Stancliff, John Tuck Elementary.

                                Caedmon Burgtorf, Morning Star Christian School..

                                Rachel Morgen, Eva Torrence, McKenna Johnson, Ava Lemmon, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School.

                                Mckenzie Lattig, Tenley Snow, Manhattan Wood, Cascades Academy.

                                Zach Walker, Damo West, Westside Village Magnet School.

                                Alex Crosswhite, Callie Flemmer, Brock Guthrie, Kyan Kurpinsky, Caleb Skinner, Hana Miyashita, Kelsie Elam, Darby McDonnieal, Kira Collins, Caiden Sanchez-Stream, Maren Halsey, Tom McCall Elementary.


Grade 4                   Aidan Light, Larsen Work, Jesse May, Zach Napier, Emilio Fassett, Jack Fassett, Michael Chase, Owen Wheary, Hudson Pifferini-Carter, Juniper Elementary.

                                Porter Taylor, Kaden Miles, Zack Bergler, Quincy Higgins, Logan Bittner, Jacob Biere, Kyle Shimel, Diego Vargas, Chloe Smolinski, Emma Cannon, Alex Shaffer, Ponderosa Elementary.

                                Henry Viles, Tumalo Community School.

                                Elisa Haupt, Mayah Knowles, Westside Village Magnet School.

                                Bryant Ipock, Kaylie Bower, Vern Patrick.

                                Ann Marie Covlin, Annie Elliott, Brenden Crouse, Peter Davio, Colin Gallivan, Jesse Morrell, Jason Thompson, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School.

                                Skylar Wilkins, Black Butte School.

                                Tanner Taylor, Pine Ridge Elementary.                   

                                Nathaniel Rubenstein, Hayden Zbranak, Cascades Academy.

                                Sam Eldridge, Tom McCall Elementary.



Grade 5                   Joel Gochez, Brenna Popham, Cameron Eckberg, Alexander Zamboni, Dougi Shaw, Ruth Sheldon, Olivia Snoke, Ponderosa Elementary.

                                Javier Medina Rodriguez, Danny Cornejo, Alvin Ruelas: Vern Patrick.

                                Seth Hatton, Hendrix Pursell, Tanner Steele, Noa Gilbert, Ryan Doering, Jared Charney Cohen, Jay Kim, Peter Heisler, Isaac Hansen, Holly Hermanson, Juniper Elementary.

                                Colton Yundt,  St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School.

                                Riley Wood, Tayah Hester, Ayden Satterlee, Riley Perry, Ariann Ramsey, Tom McCall Elementary.

                                Fisher Norton, Westside Village Magnet School.

                                Chase Korish, Noah Nagel, Bear Creek Elementary.


Middle School          Isaac Kocurek-Orr, Will Andrews, Sandro Ditta, Cameron Kelley, Cascades Academy.

                                Rya Hickey, Ben Johnson, Alan Kolar, Storm Spain, Abby Vukanovich, Jack Wise, Ivy Taylor, Michael Wakemen, Cascade Middle School.

                                Mary Olney, Jefferson County Middle School.

                                Reed Fine, Porter Parker-Smyth, Sierra Freihoefer, Makayla Wymer, Westside Village Magnet School.

                                Bridget Roe, Carly King, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School.

                                David Edfors, Gabriel Gallegos, Pilot Butte Middle School.

                                Alexa Asson, Grace Maiden, Trever Schutte, Wyatt Warner, Sisters Middle School.


Middle School Grand Prize                         Nick Giesler, Cascade Middle School.


High School        First Place (tie)                Ian Burbidge, Kathryn Simpson, Summit High School.

Honorable Mention                                     Marshall Allen, Hadley Schoderbek, Blake Kaufman, Nikki Weber, Summit High School.