Posted at 11:47 AM
At Camp Invention, almost two million students have explored their own innate creativity, inventiveness, and entrepreneurial spirit in a week long day camp program that’s been running since 1990. The program is a partnership between the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and non-profit Invent Now. Camp Invention includes a robust STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum while also providing insights on the role of patents and trademarks in innovation. Children develop questions, collect data, draw conclusions and apply new knowledge, while tackling hands on challenges.
Camp Invention is currently held at more than 1,500 sites in 49 states for 1st through 6th graders. On July 1, USPTO Director Michelle K. Lee and 2015 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee Kristina Johnson visited Camp Invention at Fort Hunt Elementary in Alexandria, VA.
"Camp Invention provides the USPTO with the opportunity to inspire our youth to innovate and create, and to introduce them to the importance of protecting their intellectual property through the patent system,” said Director Lee. “Through our partnerships with youth programs, such as Camp Invention, we encourage kids to ask big questions and seek unexpected answers. We want these children to continue asking questions as adults, as they become innovators themselves."
Hailing from Silicon Valley, Lee says her love of STEM began at a young age. “I built a radio as a young girl with my dad and I loved math, science, and building things” said Lee.
Read more about Michelle Lee’s background and commitment to increasing the pipeline of young people in STEM fields in the Spotlight on Commerce blog post.
In addition to Camp Invention, the USPTO also works with Invent Now on the Collegiate Inventors Competition (CIC), a program for undergraduate and graduate students to showcase their emerging ideas and inventions that will shape our future. The finalists are judged by a team of inductees from the National Inventors Hall of Fame and USPTO subject-matter experts, and then honored at the USPTO. Winners enjoy over $100,000 in cash prizes, the opportunity to patent their inventions, and obtain advice from prominent inventors. Winning inventions from the 2014 competition included the Immuno-Matrix, a skin patch that delivers a vaccine as easily and painlessly as putting on a Band-Aid®, as well as a device that prints low-cost, high-precision, on-demand full color 3D printing. The 2015 Collegiate Inventors Competition will be held at the USPTO on November 17.
The partnership between the USPTO and Invent Now supports a path of innovation, from grade school to college to the heights of a professional career. It is certain that these young entrepreneurs and inventors from Camp Invention and the Collegiate Inventors Competition have a bright future ahead of them.