This annual event, which inspires curiosity and creative problem-solving among Chicago’s youth, received the Most Innovative, Hands-On Project Award from US2020 – a White House initiative that seeks to increase access to STEM education, particularly in low-income communities.
“I’m so honored that we were selected for this award,” said Anneliese Gegenheimer, founder of the Invention Convention. “It really validates the work we are doing in Chicago to help develop our future leaders and innovators, and recognizes the efforts of the teachers, mentors, volunteers, sponsors, and most importantly, the students who have contributed to the growth and success of the program.”
A consultant with IBM, Gegenheimer proposed the Invention Convention to CPS three years ago after leading a similar project overseas.
“I was fortunate to oversee an invention club with youth in Tanzania, and saw the power of bright ideas from young students,” she said. “I also participated in an invention convention in Ohio when I was growing up, and I credit that experience with building my confidence and developing my problem-solving skills.”
The CPS Invention Convention, which began three years ago with just a handful of students, now includes hundreds of young participants from over 20 schools. Its recognition as one of the most innovative STEM programs in the country will no doubt grow that popularity, giving even more children the chance to use their creativity to solve real life problems.
“This experience empowers students to be creative and solve problems, and shows them that everyone can have a bright idea,” said Gegenheimer. “It’s a positive, encouraging environment that gives children the confidence to advocate for their own ideas at a young age.”