eams from the upcoming USF Young Innovator Competition could have the chance to appear on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”
The University of South Florida, along with Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI Tampa
) and Home Shopping Network (HSN
), is sponsoring the contest to seek out innovative young inventors.
The USF Young Innovator Competition is open to students in grades K-8 in the Tampa Bay area. The top inventor will be awarded a $1,000 cash prize.
During a practice session on Feb 7 at the HSN studio in St. Petersburg, the top 10 finalists in the competition will be filmed presenting their innovative ideas. With parent permission, USF Young Innovator Competition leaders will send these videos on to "Tonight Show" producers, in hopes of helping finalists get selected to appear in an upcoming “Fallonventions
Even if students don’t achieve a slot on the nationally televised show, all participants will win a day pass to MOSI. Finalists and runners-up earn additional awards, including cash prizes and annual family passes to MOSI.
In addition, each winner’s school receives a matching cash prize to support science and engineering programs.
Anton Hopen, director of the USF Young Innovator Competition, offers would-be young inventors a tip: build a model.
“Judges are looking for inventions that are creative, useful and could reasonably be produced,” Hopen says. “Students who actually try and build a prototype tend to have better invention descriptions, because the idea is more thought-out.”
The USF Young Innovator Competition is seeking ideas that identify a problem with current technology and offer a potential solution. Students will be expected to explain their invention and demonstrate how it works. Judging criteria includes creativity, persuasiveness, public benefit and marketability.
The top 10 finalists will present their ideas and prototypes at USF on Feb 11 (famed inventor Thomas Edison’s birthday) before a live panel of judges.
Several past finalists in the USF Young Innovator Competition have commercialized their inventions and secured patents, including Marissa Streng
, Luke Anderson
and George Seits
Interested students can now submit online
or via paper copy before the entry deadline of Feb 1.
For full contest rules and details, visit the USF Young Innovator website
or contact Anton Hopen, director of the USF Young Innovator Competition.