KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kelly Ann Greene went to bed after hugging her mom thinking she’d lost a nationwide invention competition for teenagers.
The next day, Greene got a big surprise in her email inbox.
“I was like, ‘What?’ So excited,” the 17-year-old recalled.
Turns out her “baby saver” invention won the market potential award - which was announced at the end of a virtual awards ceremony - at the national Invention Convention competition hosted by The Henry Ford, which earned Greene a spot in the global competition next month.
“Knowing other people see potential in this was so rewarding to me because while working on this, it was only just my dad and my mom cheering me on,” Greene said.
She also received support from the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, Missouri. The independent research library surrounded by the University of Missouri - Kansas City, but not affiliated with the school, specializes in science, engineering and technology. It is open to the public.
This year, the library hosted the KC Invention Convention, a regional qualifier where Greene and others received mentorship and guidance in hopes of reaching the national competition.
“The Linda Hall Library was just the most supportive and embracing program to help push me forward and I’m so grateful they were able to help me with this,” Greene said.
The library president, Lisa Browar, added supporting programs like the Invention Convention is important to build interest in science and self-confidence in young students.
“[Some] students may have a great idea, but they need help, they need reinforcement, positive reinforcement, they need someone to help them nurture it, a mentor, parenting is important, and I think this is a great confidence-builder for students,” Browar said.
The “baby saver” is a device Greene designed to attach to a car seat. It will detect when the temperature rises, then use GPS and cellular technology to alert parents and 911 that a baby was left in a hot car.
Greene wants the device to one day also detect a baby’s pulse and blood oxygen level to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome. Heatstroke kills about 40 children annually in the United States.
Greene said she came up with the idea thanks to a freshman year biology assignment at St. Teresa’s Academy in Kansas City, Missouri, from where she graduated in May.
Greene will attend the University of California Santa Cruz in the fall. She’ll find out how the “baby saver” did at the global level during an awards ceremony on Aug. 20.
This time, she promises to watch the entire livestream.