LEMELSON-MIT PROGRAM ANNOUNCES WINNER
OF SECOND ANNUAL HIGH SCHOOL INVENTION APPRENTICESHIP
Texan Charles Johnson Wins for Demonstrating
CAMBRIDGE, MA, November 2, 1999 — The Lemelson-MIT
Program announced today that Charles Johnson is the winner of its
second annual high school invention apprenticeship award. Johnson,
a 12th grader from Hamilton, TX attending Hamilton High School,
was selected from a talented pool of candidates for demonstrating
a life-long interest in invention and strong track record of creative
Charles began inventing at a very young age, mainly to solve problems
that he faced around his house. One of his early inventions, for
example, was a "Baby Buzzer" designed to help keep his
baby cousins off of staircases. Between the fifth and eighth grades,
Charles invented a series of devices aimed at helping others, including
the "Carthritis," a device to help his arthritic grandmother
start her car, and "Bovine Twine," environmentally-friendly,
edible twine for baling hay.
More recently, after becoming intensely interested in the increasing
number of train-vehicle collisions in Texas and nationally, Charles
developed a Train Detecting Device, which warns motorists of oncoming
trains. It is the invention of which he is proudest, given the large
amount of time he spent researching the problem.
Charles wants to pursue a career in medicine, a desire he believes
is directly fueled by his interest in invention.
The judges for the Lemelson-MIT Apprenticeship were very impressed
with the enthusiasm, accomplishments and commitment to invention
that Charles demonstrated: "Charles is inspiring. He's one
of those people who sees all the problems in his world as opportunities,
and more than that, he sees solutions," said judge David Levy,
an MIT alumnus and winner of the 1996 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize
, an annual invention award for MIT students. "Basically, he's
an inventor at heart. I love what he has done so far, and I am eager
to see what he does in the future."
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Administered by MIT, The Lemelson-MIT High School Invention Apprenticeship
is an annual experiential award given to an American high school
student (9th-12th grades) for remarkable inventiveness. The Apprenticeship
is designed to provide hands-on experience in a scientific and technological
environment. Depending upon career interests, the winning student
is paired with a leading scientist, technologist, engineer or entrepreneur
— anywhere in the country — who serves as "Invention
Mentor." The student spends up to three weeks with his or her
Invention Mentor, in order to learn more about the process of inventing
Charles' "Invention Mentor" will be Dr. Carmen Egido,
Director and General Manager of the Applications and Content Architecture
Laboratory at Intel Corporation. Dr. Egido's organization develops
new concepts, technologies, and applications that enable new uses
for powerful PCs in both business and consumer settings.
Charles is excited about the opportunity to work with Egido: "Dr.
Egido sounded very interesting. Her work to integrate computers
into the home could also be applied to the medical fieldfor
example, to develop a way of alerting others of a medical emergency.
Besides, I know that I’ll need computer knowledge in anything
I do, and this Apprenticeship will be a great way for me to gain
Specially tailored to the student's interests and experience, the
Invention Apprenticeship will give Charles an opportunity to apply
his classroom learning to a project of his own or one at Dr. Egido's
lab in Hillsboro, OR. Charles will also serve as an inspirational
role model for other young people. Last year, Krysta Morlan, an
11th grader attending Vacaville High School in California, received
the inaugural Lemelson-MIT High School Invention Apprenticeship.
She spent two weeks last summer at The Lemelson Assistive Technology
Center (LATDC) at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, developing a
prototype water bicycle that has both therapeutic and recreational
Based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, the Lemelson-MIT Program was established in 1994
by the late independent inventor Jerome H. Lemelson and his wife,
Dorothy. The Program celebrates inventor/innovator role models through
outreach activities and annual awards including the world's largest
for invention, the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize. The Program encourages
young Americans to pursue careers in the fields of science, engineering,
technology and entrepreneurship. The Lemelson-MIT Program is funded
by the Lemelson Foundation, which supports other invention initiatives
at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, Hampshire
College, the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance
and the University of Nevada, Reno.
Read more about Charles Johnson.
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