Central Oregon Students Announced as Winners of the 26th Annual Inventerprise Science Contest


(Photo courtesy of Bend Research)

Central Oregon K-12 students devised new ways to travel both near and far from home in the 26th annual Inventerprise contest, a science problem-solving contest sponsored by Bend Research, a division of Capsugel, now a Lonza company, with support from Bend-La Pine Schools and Central Oregon Community College.

Nearly 1,600 students from 41 Central Oregon schools participated in this year’s contest. Judges reviewed approximately 1,150 entries – making this another record year – and announced the winners today.

“Lonza’s Bend Research facility is rapidly growing, and it prides itself in having operated in Central Oregon for 42 years while maintaining high standards of scientific excellence. The continued success of our company depends on attracting and energizing the next generation of engineers and scientists,” said Dory Koehler-King, Inventerprise Contest Director and Sr. Product Development Leader at Lonza’s Bend Research facility. “We continue to be impressed by the imaginations and resourcefulness of the local student population as demonstrated in the Inventerprise contest and hope that this experience leads them to pursue their scientific curiosities.”

Two freshmen earned top prizes in the high school division, earning $500 each for their efforts. Natalie Lawton from Redmond Proficiency Academy developed an improved pet carrier scientifically tested to reduce temperature fluctuations, cushion pets and block noise; Tanner Taylor of Summit High School invented a biometric accessory to help drivers stay awake and reduce stress and distractions while driving. Anna Chase, a junior from Bend High School, devised a way to distract energetic children during road trips using bicycle-style athletic diversions and earned $200. Redmond Proficiency Academy junior Jessica Whittcar’s tsunami escape gondola also earned her $200 as did her fellow classmate David Novotny’s 2nd Cycle invention to transfer waste heat in internal combustion engines for use in electrical systems. Jacob Duke and Garrett McMichael teamed up to invent an ocean waste collection system that collects plastic and uses it to power naval vessels. These two juniors, also from Redmond Proficiency Academy, earned $100 each.

In the middle school division, three students will receive grand prizes. Teaghan Knox, a homeschooled 8th grader, built a model to demonstrate how an olivine filter can remove carbon dioxide from combustion exhaust. Weston Shaffer and Logan Foley from Sky View Middle School developed a rocket launch assist in order to save fuel during rocket launches. It uses electromagnets in a vacuum tube to eliminate the weight of fuel. For their prize, each student gets to choose from an Apple Watch, a mountain bike, a GoPro® camera, a tablet computer, a drone or a season ski/snow board rental.

Hundreds of students in lower grades submitted entries, either individually or as teams of up to three. Several students at each grade level will receive prizes for their submissions along with an invitation to a special Science Night program held in their honor at the Lonza laboratories in Tumalo. Some inventions that made the biggest impressions include the following:

  • A team of second graders collaborated to optimize the fun you can get out of sliding on wood floors!
  • A first grader decided that a moving road was better than moving vehicles for solving traffic problems in the city.
  • A fifth grader developed a wearable machine to help elderly and disabled people have better walking mobility.
  • Some kindergarteners invented a programmable GPS tracking device to pack in your luggage that will alert airline personnel if it is headed the wrong way.


Winners at each grade level, and the schools they attend, are listed below. Additional information can be found at http://inventerprise.bendresearch.com.


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