Photo courtesy of Jianna Nichols

COLUMBUS, Ohio — For rising 10th grader Jianna Nichols, coming up with inventions is nothing new. But the 15-year-old from Tippecanoe High School, north of Dayton, says she just might have outdone herself this year.  

Her Smart Suit is plastic-based, temperature-regulated, and reusable, cleaned off by UV rays, and quite appropriate for the times, as our nation's frontline workers face a global PPE shortage.

What You Need To Know

  • Recently, thousands of K-12 students across the state put their STEM skills to the test in the Ohio Invention Convention

  • Two students received top honors — the Edison Award — this year

  • Rising 10th grader Jianna Nichols, from Tippecanoe High School, and Eleanor Cole, from Blacklick Elementary, will represent Ohio next spring in the U.S. Nationals 

“Seeing everything that was happening with the worldwide pandemic that we're having and how much doctors were struggling to keep cool inside their suits, because I can understand how hot it can get with the body heat you generate,” sad Jianna. 

Rising 5th grader from Blacklick Elementary Eleanor Cole has quite the invention of her own — a Wicking Fly Sheet — used to dry off wet horses after a ride, preventing the growth of mold and bacteria. It’s Cole’s very first prototype. 

“It reduces the time of drying a horse to make it 10 minutes instead of 30 minutes, and it can also prevent fly bites,” said Eleanor. 

Both Jianna and Eleanor won grand prize Edison Awards for their respective inventions. 

They earned a $2,500 College Savings Award, as well as an invitation to represent our state this spring in the 2021 Invention Convention U.S. Nationals at the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan.  

The Ohio Invention League has been around for 27 years, and the young inventors are taking full advantage of the STEM skills they've learned in school.  

“I was so impressed by the school district, Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, that she came home and she was so excited about this opportunity and I really didn't know anything about Invention Convention, and it's something that they do outside of school,” said Eleanor’s mother, Whitney Cole. 

Eleanor and Jianna say they're thrilled about nationals and both say they hope their inventions will one day become mainstream. 

“I really hope that this might help save lives, and encourage people to protect themselves against the virus. Anyone can be an inventor, so I really hope people at home, especially in quarantine, there's a lot of stuff that you can do. Just look at something and think, how can I fix that?" said Jianna. 

The 2021 Invention Convention US Nationals is slated to take place at the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan next spring.