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 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.