Category Archives: News and Media

Competition Founder Gives Keynote in Silicon Valley

August 13, 2014, Silicon Valley: Anna Hopen gave the keynote presentation at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s First Annual Teacher STEM Innovation Institute in Santa Clara.  Anna discussed the evolution of the USF Young Innovator Program and its operation.

Anna Hopen at Silicon Valley giving keynoteAnna and Anton Hopen at USPTO STEM workshop

Anna Hopen is a 15 year-old hailing from Tampa, Florida who just started her second semester at St. Petersburg College where she has a straight-A average.  In 2009 she conceived of a competition for young inventors.  In 2010 the first competition was held at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).  Ten competitors out of 79 entries competed in a “Shark-Tank” style event.  The competition is held every year at the University of South Florida (USF) on or near Thomas Edison’s February 11 birthday.  Over 500 inventions were submitted by children around Tampa Bay in 2014.  The competition’s non-profit has received support from USF, MOSI, Outback Steak House, HSN and Bright House Networks.  Anna has appeared on television for several years now starring in public service announcements for the event.  Several of the young inventors have received patents from the United States Patent & Trademark Office and even appeared on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.  Anna was recognized earlier this year by the Executive Women’s Council as a “Children’s Champion” for fostering STEM education, particularly in young girls.

Competition Founder Anna Hopen (15) Presents in Tampa

TAMPA, June 6, 2014.  Anna Hopen was recognized by Tampa’s Centre Club’s Executive Women’s Council as a “Children’s Champion” for her conception and work on the University of South Florida Young Innovator’s Competition.  Going into its 6th year, the competition features a “Shark-Tank” style competition for students in the Tampa Bay region.  Several of the competitors have since received patents and appeared on national television.

 Anna Hopen presents at the Centre Club Anna Hopen, Julie Weintraub and Lisa HopenJenn Holloway and Anna Hopen

Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon seeking more USF Young Innovators

Casting producer David Garcia advised that he received so many great submissions from the USF Young Innovator competition he wanted us to reach out again.  The deadline is Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The February 19, 2014 segment entitled “Tonight Show Fallonventions” sponsored by GE was such a success they are seeking more young innovators.  Marissa Streng, inventor of the patented Puff-N-Fluff, was a featured guest on the first aired segment. Streng, the 2011 USF Young Innovator Competition grand prize winner, created the dog drying invention while she was in the third grade.

Interested? We invite you to make a 1-2 minute video that showcases the inventor and invention. Keep it simple – you can use the video camera on a smartphone.

Make sure the inventor says the following things:

  1. Name
  2. Age
  3. Hometown
  4. Invention Name
  5. How they got the idea for the invention
  6. Show how the invention works

You can email the video (or a link, if it’s easier to upload it to Youtube or Vimeo) to David Garcia at “The Tonight Show” ( Make sure that email includes:

  1. Inventor’s name, age, hometown
  2. Invention name
  3. Parents name, phone #, email address

DEADLINE – Tuesday, March 18, 2014

2013 Young Innovator Winner Inducted into Academy

The University of South Florida Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors® welcomed 2013 Young Innovator winner Mica Jadick as an honorary member.  Mica invented a cereal sifting device that filers out the crumbs that make the last bowl of cereal unpalatable. 

Barry Bercu, Mica Jadick and Anton Hopen

Competition director Anton Hopen announced that the United States Patent & Trademark Office will participate in the 2014 competition providing a workshop for finalists seeking to patent their inventions as well as judging in the live competition on February 11, 2014. 

Mica Jadick and USF System President Judy Genshaft

The deadline for invention entries is January 24, 2014.  Forms and rules can be found at the USF Young Innovator Competition website.