By Eric Walters
Williamston Times staff writer
In fall 2011, the Williamston High School InvenTeam was awarded a $10,000 grant by Lemelson-MIT for the rip-current detection system idea it developed. Williamston is the only team from the Midwest to receive a grant.
The InvenTeam program was begun by Lemelson-MIT, with the first grant being awarded in 2002. Teams consist of high school students, teachers and mentors, who work together to create inventions that solve real-world problems. The teams submit ideas for review and a select few are awarded grants to further the idea and actually build the invention.
Dan Schab, a teacher at the WHS Math and Science Academy, is a mentor for the team. He said the Williamston program was started in 2010. That year, the team submitted a proposal for an environmentally friendly window washing system and became a finalist. Williamston did not receive a grant but did receive valuable feedback. In summer 2011, the group began to brainstorm a new idea.
“We were throwing around all sorts of ideas. At one point they (the students) wanted to do a see-through toaster. I got so frustrated, I had to leave. I said ‘here’s my phone number, call me when you have an idea,’” said Schab.