R2I2 educator recognized with Lemelson-MIT Excite Award

May 2, 2018


COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2) educator, Kirstin Bullington, was recently awarded a Lemelson-MIT Excite Award. This award is given annually to a select group of educators across the country who have applied to receive a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant for the following school year and have been selected as a finalist. Award recipients participate in invention education learning opportunities as part of an all-expenses paid trip to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the Lemelson-MIT Program’s annual EurekaFest, a multi-day invention celebration in mid-June.

“I am thrilled that our students have this wonderful opportunity to demonstrate their creativity and ingenuity through this program,” said Bullington. We intend to create a feasible solar hybrid solution for one of our partner schools in Senegal.”

Educators are selected for this award based on their capacity to lead a year-long, open-ended invention project with students at their school. At EurekaFest, Excite Award recipients meet and are inspired by current InvenTeams, teams of high school students, teachers and mentors that received grants of up to $10,000 each to invent technological solutions to real-world problems. Bullington will see the InvenTeam projects, learn more about the InvenTeam experience and attend hands-on workshops and discussions led by MIT professors about invention – unique technological solutions to real world problems.

“Excite Award educators who attend EurekaFest leave the event prepared to ignite an interest among high school students in science, math, engineering and invention,” said Leigh Estabrooks, invention education officer from the Lemelson-MIT Program. “They gain new techniques to empower their students through problem solving and encourage a sustainable culture of invention in their school and community.”

Bullington is the Next Energy Engineering instructor at R2i2. She initiated the InvenTeam application process earlier this year. She is looking forward to attending EurekaFest in June. Bullington will work with the students (and mentors) throughout the summer to finalize R2i2’s grant application. Bullington will also reach out to community members with expertise in fields related to the problem that the students plan to address through a technological invention for insight and guidance on how their invention can best serve the community. Her final application for the InvenTeam grant is due in September.

A prestigious panel of judges composed of educators, researchers, staff and alumni from MIT, as well as former Lemelson-MIT award winners, will assemble in the fall and select the final InvenTeam grantees.

The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.