TEEN ENVIRONMENTALIST FROM NORTH DAKOTA
WINS SHOT TO INVENT AT LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORY
Jordan Sand wins third annual Lemelson-MIT
Invention Apprenticeship for innovative uses of local crops
CAMBRIDGE, MA, November 15, 2000 — The Lemelson-MIT
Program announced today that Jordan Sand is the winner of its third
annual high school invention apprenticeship award, a custom-tailored
learning experience designed around the winning student's interests.
Sand, an 18 year-old 12th grader from Ellendale Public School, in
Ellendale, North Dakota, was selected for his dedication to preserving
the environment through his inventions and his desire to help his
community by finding new uses for local crops.
One of his early inventions is a solar distillation device to purify
water outdoors during the cold North Dakota winters, which he built
for a seventh grade project. Another invention is a solar-heated
birdbath that keeps the birds' water thawed during icy winters.
Both projects were selected to advance to the state science fair.
During the 1997-1998 school year, Jordan embarked on research to
help American farmers create alternative uses for their crops. His
studies proved that various types of grain straw (flax, wheat, corn)
and cattails can be used to make paper. Using these raw materials,
which are annual plants that need no re-seeding, herbicides or pesticides,
to manufacture paper or other new products would provide additional
income to farmers from crops that would not ordinarily be income-producing.
In order to further his research, Jordan contacted Ulrike Tschirner,
Associate Professor of Wood and Paper Science at the University
of Minnesota, St. Paul, who offered Jordan the opportunity to spend
several days at the University, a six-hour drive from his home.
Jordan spent six days there, using chemicals that were unavailable
at his school's laboratory to pulp, bleach and make paper from non-traditional
raw materials such as corn stalks, cattails and cereal straws.
"The experience of working in a college laboratory was awesome,"
says Sand. "The equipment available was unlike anything I knew
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Sand intends to pursue a career in plant science, concentrating
on the genetic engineering of seeds. Highlighting his entrepreneurial
spirit, Sand believes his papermaking concept is economically feasible
on a global scale, with its only drawback being the distances associated
with gathering and transporting raw materials to a processing plant.
The judges for the Lemelson-MIT Apprenticeship were won over by
Jordan's enthusiasm, accomplishments and commitment to invention.
"Jordan impressed the judging panel with his creative approach,"
says Krisztina Holly, an inventor/entrepreneur and co-founder of
Stylus Innovation, who chaired the judging panel. "He debunks
the myth that invention is only done by engineers tinkering with
mechanical devices. Instead, he shows us that innovation can be
applied just as effectively to solve environmental and economic
Administered by the Lemelson-MIT Program, the Invention Apprenticeship
is an experiential award given to 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 an"Invention Mentor."
The student spends up to three weeks at the Invention Mentor's worksite
in order to learn more about the process of inventing firsthand.
The student can choose to work on a project of his or her own design
or assist in one of the Mentor's projects.
Sand's Invention Mentor will be Dr. Ashok Gadgil, a senior scientist
for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a premier, internationally
respected laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy that is managed
by the University of California. Dr. Gadgil conducts and leads theoretical
and technology research on drinking water disinfection, indoor air
pollutants and energy efficiency opportunities.
"I became involved with the Lemelson-MIT Invention Apprenticeship
Program so that I can give an innovative student the opportunity
to experience the excitement of inventing at a world class research
lab," said Dr. Gadgil. "I have also enlisted the help
of Professor Christine Rosen of The Haas School of Business at the
University of California Berkeley campus to show Jordan how to turn
inventing into a successful business."
Specially-tailored to Sand's interests and experience in agricultural
and environmental improvement, the Invention Apprenticeship will
give him the opportunity to work on an environmental project in
Dr. Gadgil's Berkeley Laboratory.
"I am looking forward to working with Jordan," said Dr.
Gadgil. "From what I already know about him, he is a creative
young man with the persistence to see an idea through. That's very
Sand's advice to other budding inventors: "Just keep going,
anything is possible!" He adds that aspiring teen inventors
must look beyond their schools to such outlets as the Internet "to
think and do things differently."
Sand is an avid sports fan who plays baseball and football, runs
track and wrestles for his school. He also enjoys surfing the Internet
and playing video games.
The winner of last year's Lemelson-MIT High School Invention Apprenticeship,
Charles Johnson, a 12th grader from Hamilton, Texas, spent three
weeks at the Intel Architecture Labs (IAL), the company's research
center in Hillsboro, Oregon. Johnson worked with Dr. Carmen Egido
and Eric Dishman to find new uses for computing in healthcare environments.
He is currently studying biomedical science in the pre-medical program
at Texas A&M University.
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 Jordan Sand.
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