Archer group named official Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam, receives grant

Members of the InvenTeam pose with their grant. The team hopes to investigate a practical and effective solution to the California drought.

Photo credit: Daniel In

Members of the InvenTeam pose with their grant. The team hopes to investigate a practical and effective solution to the California drought.

Cheryl Saban announced on Oct. 15 that the Archer InvenTeam would be awarded the Lemelson-MIT grant for their project: a faucet-mounted water meter with an adjustable aerator. Their idea was accepted for consideration last May.

According to the Lemelson-MIT website, “InvenTeams™ are comprised of high school students, educators and mentors that receive up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems of their own choosing. STEM educators from the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, and territories of the U.S. may apply.”

Archer was one of 14 grant recipients.

InvenTeam Communications Lead Isabelle Wilson ’17 told the Oracle about the moment the team found out they were grant recipients.

“We were all sitting around the table in the Saban Idea Lab and Ms. Saban was giving a speech about how proud of us she was, and then she announced to us that we were one of the official Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams. Everyone was really excited — we were all screaming, laughing, clapping and crying,” she said.

Faculty Advisor of Archer’s InvenTeam Mike Carter said, “We found out about a week and a half before we could tell the students. Part of finding out about it was signing a bunch of papers that said we couldn’t say anything about it until the official announcement from MIT. It was really hard not telling the students because we knew that they wanted to know, and they worked so hard for it. It felt a little awkward keeping it from them.”

“I actually started sobbing when I found out. It’s going to be really great,” Administrative Lead Marcela Riddick ’16 said.

“The biggest moment for me was when we found out we got the grant. I never realized how dedicated all these girls were and how much of a team we were until I saw Marcela crying because she was so happy, and I realized that we are a team and we are doing this together. We are going to MIT to do amazing things,” Integrated Engineering Lead Isabella Moncada ’16 said.

“It was so great seeing them light up — seeing their enthusiasm and joy when they found out they got the grant,” Carter said.

Carter was excited to hear the news since he wasn’t sure what the outcome would be.

“I wasn’t sure that we would get it because a lot of teams had been getting stronger in their ideas. I thought we had a really strong idea. We did a really good job of surveying the school and finding an issue that the school cared about,” Carter said. “That was something that the other teams didn’t do and something that MIT commented on that they really liked about our application. We had run surveys in every science class of ideas that they had for inventions or problems to solve.”

Carter told the Oracle how proud he was of the team.

“They really worked hard on the application. They put a lot into it, a lot of thought, a lot of effort. We have some students who joined this year who have just jumped right in and really started contributing. It’s a really good group — everyone is responsible for a different area of the invention and they seem to be taking to it really well,” he said

The Archer InvenTeam will invent an inexpensive, compact faucet mounted water meter with an adjustable aerator to encourage water savings during drought conditions in California. We aim to improve water use efficiency by at least 50 percent relative to a regular aerator and by 20 percent or more relative to a conventional low-flow aerator based on real-world use. By making people aware of their water use at their primary sink, our invention will save water and encourage people to use water more responsibly,” The Lemelson-MIT website’s description of Archer’s plans said.

Riddick asks that the Archer community support the InvenTeam in any way possible.

“We could use everybody’s support whether it’s free advertising, a donation or just a shout-out every once and a while. We are also trying to get big on social media, so support our social media feeds. Our Twitter and Instagram are both @ArcherInvenTeam,” she said.