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Inspire the next generation of inventors by sharing your experience and passion for your industry, giving feedback, and supporting student skill-building!


About the Program

The Chicago Student Invention Convention is a flexible curriculum focused on critical thinking, creativity, and innovation. It is supported by activities and lesson plans and culminates in a final competition of student-built prototypes.

The mission of the Chicago Student Invention Convention is to inspire curiosity, confidence, invention, and creative problem-solving in our youth, making every effort to ensure an enjoyable, rewarding, inspirational, and educational experience for every participant.

Who can mentor?

Community leaders, consultants, mechanical engineers, entrepreneurs, start-up CEOs — no matter your job, everyone has something to teach a curious student! Professionals in just about every field can contribute:

Consumer Services
Consumer Products
IT and Communications
Civic and education


Interested in mentoring in 2021?

Email [email protected] with your interest


What can mentors contribute?

As a Mentor, your role is twofold. You will encourage and guide students on the invention process. In addition, you will also share insights about your career as a STEM, invention, or entrepreneurship professional and explain how your work impacts the world. 

Mentors visit our participating sites and lead classroom discussions and activities.  Even if your profession is not STEM-heavy, every professional can promote the guiding principles of the Invention Convention:

  • Empower students to express their ideas and gain confidence in themselves through showing that you value their ideas
  • Give every student opportunities to use their imagination, engage in creative problem solving, and the space to present his or her ideas
  • Engage students in the scientific/invention process and develop their interests in STEM, invention, and entrepreneurship
  • Invest in students that will become our future leaders and innovators

What activities can I do during my classroom visits?

Share your real-world experience and career path with students and provide guidance and feedback on student inventions. Mentors visit our participating sites and lead classroom discussions and activities.  

Some possible mentoring models to consider: on-site school visits, holding office hours (in-person or virtual), speaking engagements, leading ideation exercises with classrooms, hosting or connecting schools to organized events at your work, and more!

What is required?

  • Specific types of sites have requirements prior to starting your classrooms visits.
    • Level II Chicago Public Schools (CPS) volunteers will be reviewed for a Name Check (we help guide you through the easy online process, with results back in 3-4 days).
    • Chicago Public Libraries require fingerprinting for new volunteers at City Hall (121 N. LaSalle St, Room 100). Fingerprinting is only available on weekday mornings between 9 – 11 am.
  • Commit to at least 5 hours of service between January – April 2020. (Hours are flexible and will align with your schedule.)
  • Communicate with the matched educator to discuss your role in the site.
  • Watch a brief online training to learn more about the CSIC program.
  • Submit a post-CSIC online feedback survey.

General Expectations

  1. Act as support for teacher and class
  2. Expose students to STEM careers
  3. Speak on STEM-related career path and share how work impacts the world
  4. Provide feedback to students on their inventions
  5. Provide guidance on invention process
  6. Judge student inventions at school-wide competition (schedule permitting)
  7. Timely communication with your assigned teacher
  8. Commit 5+ hours of service between January-April (timing is flexible)
  9. Be attentive and engaged during your school visits
  10. After your final visit, complete your Post-Experience Survey


(Recommended: at least 5 hours of service between January and April)


You will receive your classroom match
Coordinate with your teacher to schedule the first visit, and subsequent visits
Classroom visits


Classroom visits


Classroom visits
Assist with school’s Invention Convention (optional)


Classroom visits
Judge inventions at citywide Chicago Student Invention Convention (optional) @ Illinois Tech on April 25
Complete Post-Experience Survey

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