(Dearborn, Mich. – Nov. 7, 2023) ─ As The Henry Ford works to build greater K-12 student participation in the Invention Convention Worldwide program, we are excited to announce an expansion of our affiliate network that will deliver invention education to more young learners across the United States. This expansion includes five new statewide affiliate programs in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts and Virginia/District of Columbia.
- Indiana — Purdue University Extension 4-H Youth Development program: 4-H Extension specialists Dani Lay and Rachel Haselby recognized that there is a gap in current STEM project offerings when it comes to opportunities to develop problem-identification and problem-solving skills. “Invention Convention shares our commitment to building youth knowledge and skills through project-based learning experiences that are rooted in real-world contexts, and fosters the development of the next generation of changemakers,” said Lay. “We’re excited to join the ICW affiliate community to augment our existing independent STEM projects. Supporting these opportunities will help us better equip youth with collaboration and problem-solving skills, which are critical for future STEM professionals.”
- Virginia/DC — Virginia Tech: Jim Egenrieder, Research Faculty and Director, STEM Education and Workforce Programs said, “We are enjoying the very positive response to bringing ICW to Virginia and also to the greater Washington, D.C., region. These opportunities through Invention Virginia and Invention D.C. will connect a wide variety of new and established ecosystem partners, promoting hands-on experiences for young learners in creative design, technical skills, communication skills, entrepreneurship and exploring their own potential.”
- Florida — University of South Florida Research and Innovation Center: This new statewide affiliate will incorporate the two existing hub affiliates in Florida, Tampa Bay Invention Convention, serving 101,000 students through the Tampa Bay STEM Network, and Florida Gulf Coast Invention Convention, serving 1,500 students through the Edison Fairs organization, while expanding the program across the state. “As the Invention Convention Worldwide state affiliate for Florida, the University of South Florida is looking forward to the opportunity of empowering students across Florida to become active participants in shaping the future. The Invention Convention at USF provides future inventors with the real-world experience of taking an idea from concept to commercialization while equipping them with the skills required for growth and success in a rapidly evolving world. The positive influence of invention education is evident in the growing number of young inventors from Florida who have emerged from the ICW program and are now making significant contributions to various industries, and we are thrilled to now be part of their journey,” said Dr. Prasant Mohapatra, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs for the University of South Florida USF Provost. “The Henry Ford Museum’s Invention Convention Worldwide possess the vision, resources, and commitment necessary to foster young inventors across the nation. This vision aligns perfectly with our invention and innovation education efforts at USF Research & Innovation to empower our next generation to become future leaders, change-makers, problem-solvers and industry-disruptor” said Sylvia Wilson Thomas, Ph.D. Interim Vice President for Research & Innovation, President & CEO of the USF Research Foundation, Inc.
- Illinois — Chicago Innovation: After 11 years of serving over 22,000 students, the Chicago Student Invention Convention has expanded to become the Illinois Student Invention Convention, providing curriculum, mentorship and competition to students across the entire state of Illinois. Program manager Nicole Prahin Rodriguez said, “We believe experiences like the Invention Convention are powerful catalysts for students’ interest in STEAM and for their ability to see themselves as innovators in their community. This is why we are thrilled about our state expansion so that invention education can be free and accessible to K-8 students across Illinois. We look forward to supporting a culture of curiosity and innovation among the brilliant young people in Illinois!”
- Massachusetts — Connecticut Invention Convention: After a brief hiatus, the Massachusetts Invention Convention will once again serve the state of Massachusetts, this time under the leadership of Nick Briere, Invention Convention Worldwide alum and executive director of Connecticut Invention Convention. An estimated 300,000 students have been served by Connecticut Invention Convention over 40 years, and the program is now expanding into neighboring Massachusetts. Briere said, “When we first developed the framework of a coalition of national Invention Convention programs nearly a decade ago, it was under the premise that we are stronger together. I think this concept has been demonstrated in no uncertain terms as the Connecticut Invention Convention has expanded its service territory into Massachusetts through the support of Invention Convention Worldwide. The Henry Ford has provided critical subject matter expertise, intellectual property and network support to facilitate the transition, and without it the prospect of expanding into a new state would have been a daunting one indeed. We are excited to continue — and grow — our role within the ICW community and grateful for this opportunity to serve more aspiring changemakers and inventors as they create solutions to the problems of tomorrow."
At the conclusion of the 2022-23 season, Invention Convention Worldwide impacted over 170,000 students across 19 states. This recent expansion moves us toward our goal of having an affiliate program in all 50 states.
If you’d like to learn how you can bring Invention Convention to your state, please contact Melissa Frey at MelissaFrey@thehenryford.org for more information.
About The Henry Ford:
Located in Dearborn, Michigan, The Henry Ford, a globally-recognized destination, fosters inspiration and learning from hands-on encounters with artifacts that represent the most comprehensive collection anywhere focusing on innovation, ingenuity and resourcefulness in America. Its unique venues include Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour, Benson Ford Research Center and Henry Ford Academy, a public charter high school. Together with its online presence at thf.org, its national television series The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation and Invention Convention Worldwide, the growing affiliation of organizations fostering innovation, invention and entrepreneurship in K-12 students, The Henry Ford inspires individuals to unlock their potential and help shape a better future.