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Meet Tushar Mehta: Camp Invention Alum and STEM Challenge Champion

Competing in the National STEM Challenge, exceptional young minds present their achievements in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). The challenge boasts a celebration of innovative, student-driven solutions to global challenges in the areas of Environmental Stewardship, Future Foods, Health & Medicine, Powering the Planet, Tech for Good and Space Innovation. Among the remarkable young champions selected for 2024 was Tushar Mehta, aspiring engineer and Camp Invention® alumnus.

Camp Invention is a one-of-a-kind nationwide STEM camp designed for curious kids like Tushar. Through hands-on challenges and innovative adventures, kids in grades K-6 learn critical thinking, creative problem solving and entrepreneurship skills as they build confidence and persistence. Now a 2024 STEM Challenge Champion, Tushar recently sat down with the National Inventors Hall of Fame® to discuss his challenge project, as well as the profound impact Camp Invention has had on his innovative journey.


Developing Problem Solving, Persistence and Passions at Camp Invention

Residing in Pennsylvania, Tushar, now a sophomore in high school, first attended Camp Invention in 2017. “The first thing I recall was creating a robotic dog. It was a simple yet fascinating project,” he shared in his interview. “Throughout the week, we were coding with it, adding different things to it and personalizing it. It was something I kept for many years because it really reminded me of how my whole journey started in STEM.”

Tushar noted that since his time at camp, robotics has become one of his greatest passions, leading him to participate in the Lehigh Valley CORE (Coding, Robotics and Electronics Education) Team, as well as elective coding and engineering classes in school.

Additionally, Tushar credits his time at camp with helping him grow traits and skills vital to who he is today. “Camp Invention really helped me develop the confidence to tackle complex challenges. It helped me grow as I applied problem-solving skills learned from camp in the early days.”


Taking on the STEM Challenge

In pursuit of his passion for both exploring robotics and making the world a better place, Tushar’s submission to the National STEM Challenge integrates automation with environmental consciousness. He invented Recyclebot: a machine learning-based automated waste detection and classification system. This endeavor merges machine learning with waste management to create an automated system that identifies and classifies waste with impressive accuracy.

“It’s basically an app that is designed to enhance our recycling capabilities and streamline the way our society handles waste, all while providing data-driven insights to inform better environmental policies,” Tushar said. Among nearly 300 entries, Tushar was selected as a STEM Champion and given the opportunity to showcase his project to some of our nation’s most influential leaders at the 2024 National STEM Festival in Washington, D.C., presented by EXPLR.


Offering Guidance for Young Innovators

As Tushar looks to his future, his main aspiration is to become an engineer. “I’m really hoping to develop innovative solutions to different problems the world is having right now, such as in the healthcare realm, renewable energy or climate change, because these are things that show my purpose,” he shared. As he works toward these goals, he continues to enjoy his hobbies of playing basketball, playing the trombone and traveling to explore the history of different countries and cultures.

While reflecting on his successes so far, he again credited his time at Camp Invention for sparking his STEM-related enthusiasm. “Camp Invention was really the pivotal experience that ignited my passion for STEM,” he said. “Without that camp, I think that I would have been a completely different person with different interests, but because of Camp Invention I was able to get more interested in the STEM environment.”

Tushar’s advice to aspiring kid inventors is as inspiring as his own path through STEM. “Embrace curiosity and do not be afraid of failure,” he advised. “Innovation is all about exploring the unknown and asking questions about how things work, or how they could work better. Every great invention starts with a question or problem that needs solving. One should embrace failure as a stepping stone to success, and see every misstep as an opportunity to learn and improve. I would encourage aspiring kid inventors to keep experimenting, tinkering and dreaming big.”


Explore Camp Invention for Your Child

To learn more about the inspiring influence of Camp Invention, visit our website.

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