Friday October 15, 2010

Not Just Some Ordinary Yo-Yo

A student's invention has caught the attention of a major toy company and netted an invitation to speak at the National Innovation Summit.

A University of Dayton mechanical engineering student's invention has led to an invitation to speak at a national conference about the virtues of developing engineers to be entrepreneurs and inventors.

Project Lead the Way has invited Charlie Weikert, a sophomore from Columbus, Ind., to talk about "Inspiring Young Inventors" and "Creating Through the Classroom" at its inaugural National Innovation Summit Oct. 20-22 in Washington, D.C.

"I am passionate about engineering and entrepreneurship. We should not wait until the workplace to integrate the two. I think we need to emphasize creativity with entrepreneurship in the classroom at an earlier stage," Weikert said. "Engineers are often taught how to approach design and manufacturing problems, but I think we need to learn how to identify marketing problems and solve them with business considerations. By understanding a designer's problem and the demographic they are designing for, engineers can save money, make better products and improve lives more quickly."

Weikert developed a yo-yo in a high school class that caught the attention of a major toy company and Project Lead the Way. He has a provisional patent and is currently working with the company on prototypes.

More than 900 teachers, students, companies and elected officials will be at the summit to discuss the latest in science, technology, engineering and math education, including the use of leading-edge technologies, effective teaching methods and electronic assessments.

The University of Dayton School of Engineering is a leader in educating engineers to be entrepreneurs. A national foundation has called the University of Dayton School of Engineering and its Innovation Center "best in class in project-based learning in engineering innovation education."

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or