South Georgia Innovation Day Showcases Student Inventors

Feb 26, 2024 | Thomasville, GA

Around 140 elementary through high school students participated in South Georgia Innovation Day on Feb. 9, presenting their own inventions as a part of Georgia Tech’s K-12 InVenture Prize competition.

Some of the student inventions included: an app that matches discriminated dog breeds with their perfect human match; a solar-powered golf cart; a digital medical device that helps measure and prevent brain injuries from concussions; and an app designed to make studying more efficient for students.

The event took place at Southern Regional Technical College (SRTC) in Thomasville. Community leaders from local businesses judged the projects and presented awards.

“Through the Georgia AIM grant, we have been able to expand innovation, AI, and manufacturing education to more students in Southwest Georgia,” said Danyelle Larkin, educational outreach manager with Georgia Tech Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing. “This grant continues to provide us with opportunities to highlight current and future career pathways within Thomasville and other Southwest Georgia communities. Next year, we plan to host more students as we continue to expand our work in rural communities through Georgia AIM.

The Georgia AIM project is supported by a $65 million grant Georgia Tech received in September 2022 from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. The goals of the project are to support a statewide initiative that combines artificial intelligence and manufacturing innovations with transformational workforce and outreach. The grant is also designed to increase job and wage opportunities in distressed and rural communities and among historically underrepresented populations such as rural residents, women, veterans, people of color and members of the workforce without a college degree.

“We are partnering with local school systems in rural Georgia to foster innovative thinking in students with the K-12 InVenture Prize competition, preparing them for their future careers,” said Willie Allen, SRTC’s director of innovation. “Events like this have the potential to strengthen our community here in Thomasville in both the short and long term. Our students are learning high-tech skills that will help them throughout their lives. This is a process of enriching our community, one student at a time.”

Community organizer Katie Chastain with Tisk/Task in Thomasville said that the event “has this magical element because you combine all the right elements that spark inventions — young people eager to solve real problems, industry experts willing to share their expertise, and a framework for continual improvement. It couldn't be done without the strong partnership between our local schools, our business community, Southern Regional Technical College and Georgia Tech.”

The following winners from the South Georgia Innovation Day qualifier are invited to participate in the K-12 InVenture Prize State Finals competition at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta on March 13.


Elementary School Division Winners

First Place: Splash Guard, Abigail Bone, Ellie Butler, Katie Bruce

Second Place: Cool Dog Collar, Ivey Clapper, Isla Farlow

Third Place: Double Band, Perry Chastain, Jillian Blodgett, Alice Fielding


Middle School Division Winners

First Place: See the Future, Janiya Ivey

Second Place: Sol-Gear, Emma Brannen

Third Place: Plug in Master, Jace Johnson and Jayda Mathis


High School Division Winners

First Place: Know Fur-Buddy, Tatiana Everhart

Second Place: Study Buddy, Martha Edwards, Ella Rodd

Third Place: Squmfort, Michael “Connor” Pringle


“Innovation Day lets kids share their great ideas with leaders in our community,” Chastain said. “We love celebrating the work they put into their innovations. The creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking — those are the four C's we want to see in our future workforce — and we saw it all at Innovation Day!

Educators or afterschool program providers interested in participating in South Georgia Innovation Day 2025 can contact Katie Chastain at

For more information on K-12 InVenture Prize State Finals, click here.

For more information on the K-12 InVenture Prize competition, click here.


—Randy Trammell, CEISMC Communications