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4 Inspiring Lessons From Our CIC Finalists

For children to build confidence in their dreams, they must first know that they are possible. We at the National Inventors Hall of Fame® understand the power of role models in inspiring the next generation of thinkers, creators and innovators. Keep reading for four lessons your child can learn from some of our favorite role models – our Collegiate Inventors Competition® (CIC) Finalists!

CIC invites the top undergraduate and graduate student inventors from across the country to take their inventions to the next level by presenting their work to Judges including Hall of Famers and United States Patent and Trademark Office officials. CIC Finalists demonstrate the kinds of skills and determined spirit to which your child can aspire. Whether your young innovator wants to invent the next big thing or pursue other interests, CIC Finalists show them that with the right mindset, they too can reach new heights.


1. Don’t Be Afraid to Try STEM

Your child and every child — can become an innovator, whether they enjoy traditional STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics) activities or gravitate toward writing, sports, art or other interests. Likewise, when your child builds strong STEM skills, they can apply those skills across a wide range of career possibilities. Arlyne Simon, a CIC Finalist who became a biomedical engineer, patented inventor and author, encourages kids to be more confident in pursuing STEM through her book series, “Abby Invents.” Each story inspires readers to explore the magic of invention and reminds them they are never too young to innovate!

“I would ask myself often, ‘What can I do to increase the number of girls who have a desire to pursue STEM?’ I loved reading, I loved STEM outreach, and so that’s when I decided to write about a girl inventor called Abby – and that’s how ‘Abby Invents’ was born.” 
– Arlyne Simon, 2013 CIC Graduate Finalist


2. Be a Problem Solver

CIC Finalists can show your child how to tackle problems and develop their own solutions. Inventors often find inspiration in failures, difficulties and accidents. In fact, many of the world’s most impactful inventions began with a person trying to solve a problem that was important to them. Applying empathy, innovators can see what others need and offer solutions through invention. Nicole Black and her co-inventor Michael J. Kreder were innovative problem solvers when they created PionEar, a device designed to combat issues associated with chronic ear infections.

“I discovered that I wanted to use STEM to solve big problems. I learned about 3D printing and new materials that could be used to regenerate tissues. I helped invent better ear tubes and eardrum grafts.” 
– Nicole Black, 2018 CIC Graduate Winner


3. Persist Through Challenges

What do you want your child to do when facing unexpected hurdles? Pivot their plans and try again! Matthew Rooda and teammate Abraham Espinoza put persistence into practice when adding to their range of innovations after their CIC win. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the team’s business, SwineTech, turned unexpected challenges into new opportunities. They expanded their product offerings and added a software product to their traditionally hardware-focused business to continue empowering the farmers their innovations serve.

“You’ll always have what you built, but it doesn't mean what you built will always be what's most necessary. So be flexible, be resilient.” 
– Matthew Rooda, 2017 CIC Undergraduate Winner


4. Embrace Collaboration

From classes and sports teams to future careers and everyday friendly interactions, teamwork is a vital skill your child can apply across countless areas of life. Working together brings new knowledge, ideas and experiences to the table and helps your child to see that everyone has a valuable perspective to share. CIC’s Augment Health team members, Jared Meyers and Stephen Kalinsky, know this firsthand. Throughout their innovative endeavors, they stressed the importance of having a network of knowledgeable supporters.

“We’ve been so fortunate to have exceptional people around us. It helps so much, when you have to make these hard decisions, to be able to shoot someone a text saying ‘Hey, can I talk to you about this?’ I really do recommend building out a collaborative ecosystem.” 
– Jared Meyers, 2021 CIC Undergraduate Runner-up


See These Lessons in Action

In every National Inventors Hall of Fame education program, we want kids to believe they can change the world. So, throughout every experience, we incorporate encouragement, stories and advice from inventors who already have – our Hall of Famers and CIC Finalists! Secure your child’s spot at our all-new Camp Invention® program, and they’ll be introduced to even more inspiring role models as they tackle new challenges and become confident creators.

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