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California Student Krysta Morlan
Wins for "Cast Cooler" Invention

CAMBRIDGE, MA, NOVEMBER 16, 1998 — The Lemelson-MIT Awards Program announced today that Krysta Morlan has won its first-ever, high school apprenticeship award. Krysta and her invention, the "Cast Cooler," were selected becuase of Krysta's potential to excel in the apprenticeship and truly benefit from working with a real-life scientist, engineer, researcher or entrepreneur. Moreover, with her invention, Krysta turned a negative situation into a positive experience.

Krysta developed the "Cast Cooler" to provide relief to those who are forced to wear casts during the hot summer months. Having worn a full-leg cast for almost a year due to surgery related to diplegic cerebral palsy, Krysta knew first-hand how uncomfortable casts could be. The invention funnels cool air into the cast using a 9-volt battery. The battery energizes an electric motor, which is attached to a plastic tube that fills with the refreshing air and releases it into the cast.

"The selection committee for the Lemelson-MIT Apprenticeship had strong views about the importance of the likely impact on the career of the winner," said Richard Heitman, chair of the selection committee. "Krysta's desire to help others through invention and her enthusiasm to learn more about medical technologies greatly impressed our committee."

The Lemelson-MIT High School Invention Apprenticeship is an experiential awared presented to an American high school student (9th-12th grades) for remarkable inventiveness. Depending upon the winning student's interests, he or she will be paired with a leading scientist, technologist, engineer, and/or entrepreneur - anywhere in the country - seving as "Invention Mentor" in order to learn more about the process of inventing first-hand.

Krysta's Invention Mentor will be Colin Twitchell, director of the Lemelson Assistive Technology Development Center (LATDC) at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, and founder of Ergosport, a company that produces adaptive technologies for recreational and sporting equipment.

Surprised and excited that she was chosen, Krysta said: "I cannot wait to get involved in the apprenticeship. I am excited to be able to learn more about inventing and benefit from the experience of others. I would like to use the knowledge gained from the program to work on future inventions, especially those that will help people with special medical circumstances."

The Apprenticeship is designed both to reward and encourage inventiveness by providing hands-on experience and exposure to a professional scientific/technological environment. In addition, the Invention Apprentice will servie as an inspirational role model for other young people.

Krysta Morlan is a 10th grade student attending Vacaville High School in Vacaville, CA.

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 Krysta Morlan.

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