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George Hersey Robertson Students Compete in Connecticut Invention Convention

Paula Sandahl

A group of G. H. Robertson School fourth and fifth graders prepared for the Connecticut Invention Convention competition this year. They met with the Challenge and Enrichment teacher, Stacey Fortin, to use the engineering design process to solve a problem that bugged them. In March, they presented their ideas, invention logs and prototypes at a school level showcase. Natalie Zadrozny, Clara Tougas, and Melissa Pascino had their inventions advanced to the state semi-finals.

Natalie Zadrozny invented a binder that could adapt to different numbers of pages without becoming overstuffed. Clara Tougas designed the Nap Buddy, a pillow for car, train, and plane trips with a comfortable pad and silicone base to keep it from slipping on windows. Melissa Pascino's invention, the No-Flip Clip, solved the problem of items in the dishwasher flipping over and filling with dirty water. She wanted to save time and water by keeping lightweight items in place so the dishes didn’t need to be re-washed. She went through many prototypes to get the right leverage, and added unique features to adjust for different heights of dishes and to let water drain through the clip.

Natalie, Clara, and Melissa submitted their invention logs and recorded presentations virtually to be considered for advancement. Clara’s and Melissa’s inventions were chosen to compete at the state level at Gampel Pavilion at the University of Connecticut in early June. Both students represented Coventry expertly, preparing project display boards and refining their presentation for live judging teams. Melissa Pascino was one of a select group of 20 students chosen to advance to the 10th Annual Raytheon Technologies Invention Convention U.S. Nationals at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan in 2025.

This information was provided by Cindy Wilbur, K12 STEM Specialist. For further information, please contact her at

Invention Convention
Invention Convention


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