Grant fuels inventors at Ann Richards school
School’s Inventeam receives $9,500 from MIT, Lemelson to build produce preserver.
On a Saturday at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, a group of girls debated how to create the steady temperature needed for a pressurized produce preserver.
The device, which would run on sustainable energy, aims to help low-income individuals preserve food for longer periods of time.
Boasting 12 high school students and two teachers, the group is part of the Ann Richard’s InvenTeam and recently received a $9,500 grant from a Lemelson and Massachusetts Institute of Technology program to build a prototype of their device.
The program requires stu- dents to solve current problems using science, technology, engineering and math.
Ann Richards is one of 16 high schools nationwide to receive a grant and will showcase a finished product in June.
Eliza Martin is a 10th-grader at Ann Richards and is part of the team. Martin said she was inspired to tackle hunger in low-income areas because her grandmother lived when not all Americans had refrigerators.
She admits she is not an expert in technology, but she helps the team by doing a lot of research.
“Everything I’ve learned in school is all coming together,” Martin said. “I’m physically creating something.”
Teachers Shireen Dadmehr and Shamaa Lakshmanan said they never imagined making it this far and getting the grant.
“Just try something,” Dadmehr said. “You might do things you don’t think are pos- sible.”
Since the girls are involved in other activities, the team meets weekly after school and on weekends.
Many of those times, the team faces bumps because the math and physics is complicated.
“They’re working on a bump right now,” Dadmehr said.
School Principal Jeanne Goka said the grant money will allow the team to purchase the materials to build their prototype. The team helps create an environment of authentic learning by allowing them to use what they’ve learned in the classroom to help others, she said.
“They’ll start here and there’s no telling where they’ll go with the power of knowing they can take on the world’s problem and solve them,” Goka said.