March 5, 2017

This has been a very exciting month for us! First we were featured on North Carolina State University Webpage! This article and video has given us more community support and awareness of our work! We really appreciate the support that the staff and students  at North Carolina State University give us during the invention process. You can see the article, "Learners and Leaders" by Alaastair Hadden, and video at: https://news.ncsu.edu/2017/02/catalyst-program-disabilities-stem/.

We also have visited the Orange County Farmers at the Farm Bureau! They were excited to learn about our invention and also gave us some great tips on how to improve it. In addition to the great meal and time we had, they also gave us a generous donation towards our travel costs to MIT! We really appreciated this because we saw this summer how hard farmers work to make our food and earn a living! We are glad they will continue to help us as we move forward! Next month we are visiting the Wake and Mecklenberg Farm Bureau too! We are happy to meet more farmers! We are also happy our mat that screens for lameness will help them in their daily hard work!

We also had our Open House! We had over sixty people attend. Garrison, our team mate who is in the picture with Tony wrote:

"I want to write about the programming aspects of the project. The team gave a presentation on the lameness in cattle and I was one of 2 guys demonstrating it. We had help from a guy from MIT whose name is Tony. He was very easy to talk with. Everyone enjoyed meeting him and welcomed his insight. After the presentation was made he also asked several important questions which challenged us to think through several of our procedures. He was very nice, approachable and knowledgeable. The presentation went well, considering we were the only team out of 15 to have any disabled people on the team. I also created the code for a blue, cheap micro-controller that the prototype will use. I can say this: SAVE YOUR CODE TO A FILE SOMEWHERE!!! I accidentally forgot to do this and had to rewrite the code for the demonstration of the product. I <3 the project, because coding in and of itself is a process that takes a skill to do, and a skilled hand to diagnose any errors. Coding is an art form taken for granted, the art being contained within the code--and sometimes even the code itself--is colorful art. I have enjoyed this art class more than any other, and a good computer program is like a good work of art. Thus I enjoy the program."

We appreciated Tony Perry from the Lemelson- MIT InvenTeam Program coming from Boston to our Open House. We learned of ways to improve our presention and invention and some cool places to visit when we are in Boston!  We had some Professors attend, community members too!  All our parents and families came too! We felt famous for the day! It is nice to feel so supported too!

We also had an article written by our Program Director, Joann Blumenfeld and Sheryl Sotelo in the National Science Teachers Association NSTA Reports, March 2016 on;" Inventing Engages Students wtih Special Needs in STEM". We hope other teachers see this and start more InvenTeams with students with disabilities so they can learn and shine too! http://static.nsta.org/pdfs/nstareports/nstareports201703.pdf

We are continuing our hard work and our journey continues! Stay tuned for next months journey! Follow us on Facebook at: Catalyst InvenTeam!