On Thursday, January 21, 2021, Northeast High Schools 2018 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam was featured on several local news stations for a U.S. Patent for its Mosquito Agitator. The ingenious device prevents mosquitoes from laying eggs in standing water.
Researching Mosquito Breeding Habits
The students, inspired by the Zika outbreak that reached Miami in 2017, researched mosquito breeding habits and found that stagnant water was needed for mosquitoes to breed. The team was able to purchase materials for the final design with a grant from Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams. Other materials were purchased through Amazon and various tech companies.
During the very early stages of the invention process, students used recycled materials, 3D printed parts, cardboard, and plastic cups and plates to create working prototypes. The team also visited their “parts graveyard”, a large fish tank that houses broken parts, and failed designs regularly.
An Inspiring Journey to Innovation
On Thursday January 21, 2021 the team celebrated the issuance of the patent for their invention. While some of the team members have already graduated, two of the Lemelson-MIT students still attend Northeast High School while the others, away in college, attended via Zoom. Oakland Park Mayor Jane Bolin also participated virtually.
When asked how she felt about the patent award, Bolin stated, “The journey of Ms. Mabour, Ms. Flynn, and the students of Northeast High School Lemelson-MIT team is beyond inspiring. This patent represents what is possible and provides the spark for even more innovation. The mosquito agitator solves a problem in an eco-conscious manner and will make a lasting impact. Each one of us can support this team and all of our Oakland Park students by giving back with time and resources to Northeast High School and the magnet program.”
Bolin wasn’t the only one who was excited. Many proud Oakland Park residents took to social media to share the footage.
Oakland Park City Commissioner Mitch Rosenwald, who was also present virtually for the event, proudly posted on his Facebook page, “A government patent! Congratulations to our hardworking students and teachers who were awarded a patent for creating technology to reduce mosquitos landing on still water. This can potentially help reduce the spread of malaria—such genius in Oakland Park!”
NHS Becomes Reference in the Community
Ms. Mabour has zero doubts about Northeast High School’s talent. A former NHS graduate herself, she states, “I’m always surprised when people in the area haven’t heard of Northeast High School. In the past ten years, we have graduates at every single Ivy League school, except for Princeton, from Northeast High School.”
From U.S. patents to Ivy League students, Northeast High is carving its way in the community and country. No stranger to innovative accolades, the high school made national news with its invention of a riptide warning system in 2016. Last year, they placed in the finals in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest with an app and comic book designed to ease the minds of newly diagnosed youth facing Type I diabetes diagnoses in the community.
For a school that typically makes local news for its scrappy reputation and construction delays, the patent reaffirms the true nature of Northeast High School students and teachers. Thursday’s news coverage showcases what many in the community have always known: Northeast High School students and teachers are resilient, diverse, and innovative leaders and should be recognized for their achievements more often than its woes.
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About the Author
Rhiannon Samoyedny was born and raised in South Florida. She has lived in Oakland Park for over 25 years and purchased her home in Garden Acres in 2012 where she resides with her husband, two teenaged boys, a few rescue cats, and her dog.
Her professional career began as a project manager and estimator for a small Oakland Park construction company and she later went on to earn her degree in Court Reporting, where she later incorporated her own small business RS Reporting, Inc.
She has a passion for gardening and attends many horticulture classes and workshops. She is also an LGA (Local Government Academy) graduate, class of 2019, and an active community volunteer and activist. You can usually find her around town at various Oakland Park meetings and events with her notebook, so be sure to say hello.