Stockbridge High School Students Awarded Patent

Photo Credit: Stockbridge Community Schools Facebook


Stockbridge Junior/Senior High School  416 N. Clinton St. Stockbridge, MI 49285

Phone  517-851-7770   Fax 517-851-9446

Jeff Trapp, Senior High Principal                             Meghan Kunzelman, Junior High Principal/Athletic Director



For More Information:

Robert Richards

Stockbridge InvenTeam

(517) 898-9784


Stockbridge Students Awarded Patent

On Tuesday, June 23, 2020 the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office awarded U.S. Patent No. 10,690,646 for an underwater camera and water quality monitoring system to 16 current and former members of Stockbridge Jr/Sr High School’s InvenTeam and their teacher.

Members of the team awarded the Patent are Madison Howard, Colin Lilley, Faith Whitt, Sylvia Whitt, Chelsey Asquith, Hailey Howard, Kael Bunce, Julia Marhofer, Kelly Cool, Lauren Morris, Michelle Zemke, Katelyn Knieper Baylee Heidrich, Haillee Fraser-Gutting and Teacher Bob Richards.

The team’s invention is an underwater camera and water quality monitoring system that the students built as part of the 2015/2016 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Grant Program.  The Lemelson-MIT Program offers annual InvenTeam grants of up to $10K each for 15 teams of high school students, educators and mentors from across the U.S. to invent technological solutions to real-world problems of their own choosing. To be eligible, teachers must first apply and be selected as an Excite Award recipient prior to submitting their invention proposal for a grant. Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams research intellectual property, exchange ideas, design parts, build models and make modifications as they develop prototypes of their inventions throughout the academic school year. Students cultivate leadership skills by learning to work as members of a team to address challenges and celebrate “Eureka” moments. Projects are collaborative efforts, driven by the students with guidance from their educator and professionals in the field who serve as mentors. The InvenTeam initiative fosters a “learning-by-doing” student teams environment fueled by inquiry-based thinking.

According to team member Michelle Zemke, The Stockbridge InvenTeam, and our innovative program to deliver Underwater Cameras and Water Quality Monitoring Systems, has provided me with a tremendous set of experiences and skills to work with moving forward into a STEM focused career. I received a hands-on learning experience that will supply me with the knowledge and tools to help inspire other young students to enter into the field. This unique and engaging project is one of the driving reasons for my decision to pursue a career and education in Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University and I could not be more thankful for and proud of all of the individuals that contributed to our patent approval.

During the fall of 2017 the team completed their invention and applied for a US Patent with the help of Microsoft’s #Makewhatsnext Patent Program.   The Microsoft #MakeWhatsNext Patent Program offers female inventors patent support and mentorship so they can protect their ideas and further their innovation.  Team member Madison Howard stated “Patenting a device in high school has allowed me to network with many individuals, as well as showcase my experience in design and engineering. Having a patent sets me apart from other individuals at my university, and it has in turn given me more job opportunities. I am so fortunate and thankful for the Stockbridge InvenTeam, Lemelson-MIT Program, Microsoft #Makewhatsnext Patent Program, and my community for the opportunity.”

Stockbridge Jr/Sr High School InvenTeam has continued testing and improving their invention using it to monitor aquatic life in the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa in 2018. During the COVID-19 shortened 2019/2020 school year a new team began developing a new device for autonomously deploying the underwater camera and water quality monitoring system while participating in the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams Program.  Once the school transitioned to remote or distance learning in April the team prepared an application for what they hope with be there second Patent.

Anthony Perry, Invention Education Coordinator at the Lemelson-MIT Program summed up the teams efforts by stating, “I could not be happier for Bob Richards and the Stockbridge students for their dedication to helping solve pressing problems in the world through invention. In this case, the students’ invention will help address the threat to aquatic environments from climate change and pollution, by monitoring water quality and measuring water conditions. The majority of this team of students are female, which is inspiring to see since the number of women patent holders in the U.S. is drastically low, compared to men. These young inventors are already changing the world and I am confident they will continue to do so as they go on to college and throughout their careers.”

For more information please contact Mr. Richards at (517) 851-7770 or email at

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