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Behind the NIHF Scenes

The Collegiate Inventors Competition: A Showcase for Student Excellence

The students who competed in the 2019 National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Collegiate Inventors Competition® (CIC) exceeded expectations from the moment they first set foot on campus. They joined other top student inventors in the country to compete in an exclusive college competition.

As far as invention contests go, CIC offers its participants a unique opportunity to present their research and earn prize money. Finalist teams (five Undergraduate and five Graduate) received an all-expenses-paid trip to the final round of the competition held at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Madison Building in Alexandria, Virginia. The teams presented their inventions to a panel of Judges composed of NIHF Inductees and USPTO officials. Throughout the competition, students directly interacted with and received valuable feedback from Inductees. Finalists also gained national marketing exposure, grew their network, and built new relationships with fellow student inventors and entrepreneurs.

Since 1990, the annual competition has provided a glimpse into the future of American innovation and emerging technological trends in various industries, ranging from medical devices to materials science to mechanical engineering.

In 2019, the two-day event began with a welcome reception for Judges and Finalists at the NIHF Museum. The following morning, judging of individual teams took place. Months and years of dedicated effort were then on display during the event’s Expo, which has received thousands of USPTO officials and members of the public in attendance. Finalists interacted with visitors to their respective booths, answered questions about their inventions and often demonstrated prototypes.

The Arrow Electronics People’s Choice Award has become one of the competition’s biggest draws. The public was welcomed to vote for their favorite team at the Expo, with the winning team announced at the Awards Dinner later that evening. The Graduate and Undergraduate Winners and Runners-up teams also received their medallions and prize money during the Awards Dinner.

CIC is an exceptional celebration of today’s young people who are committed to innovating a better world. The creative problem solving and enthusiasm for discovery that these students offer through their work is nothing short of inspiring.

Meet the 2019 Finalists below!


Undergraduate Finalists


Compressor-Turbine Fusion, Oklahoma State University

Team Member: Andrew J. Williamson; Adviser: Khaled A. Sallam


Dual Monitoring Telemedicine Solution for Diabetic Foot Ulcer, Columbia University

Team Members: Nicole Boyd, Michelle Feely, Aaron Maccabee, Xin Xiong; Adviser: Aaron Kyle


PE-IVT (Positively Engaged, Infinitely Variable Transmission Using Split Helical Gears), University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Team Member: Ethan R. Brush; Adviser: Carl Nelso


PeritoneX, Johns Hopkins University

Team Members: Tejasvi Desai, Sarah Lee, Eugene Oh, James Qin; Adviser: Elizabeth Logsdon


SecURO, Georgia Institute of Technology

Team Members: Jared Brown, Bailey Eaton, Rachel Mann; Adviser: James Rains


Graduate Finalists


Cubic LEDs, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Team Member: Dicky Liu; Adviser: Can Bayram


EasyWhip, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Team Member: Lia Winter; Adviser: Lynn Young


Infinite Cooling, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Team Members: Maher Damak, Karim Khalil; Adviser: Kripa Varanas


Nanodropper, Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine; University of Washington

Team Members: Mackenzie Andrews, Allisa J. Song, Jennifer Steger; Adviser: Raghu Mudumba


SALUS (Stabilizing Aerial Loads Utility System), Georgia Institute of Technology; Stanford University

Team Members: Joshua Barnett, Tony Chen, Mahdi Al-Husseini; Advisers: Shivan Amin, Rocco Giustino, Marty Jacobson, Thomas J. Leppert V

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