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By Richard Gearhart
Founding Partner

Sponsored by Summit-based Gearhart Law,
Winners of the 11th Annual NJ Idea Competition Announced by
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship

Summit, New Jersey – Winners have been announced in an annual, statewide competition among New Jersey high school students charged with the loose-yet-lofty mandate of dreaming up the state’s best ideas. Organized by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship, the 2014 New Jersey Idea Competition accepted submissions from more than 500 Garden State high schools and, fittingly, was sponsored in part by Gearhart Law, a Summit-based legal firm specializing in intellectual property.

Students were challenged to brainstorm innovative business ideas, whose creativity and economic viability were then judged by a panel that included both FDU professors and statewide business experts. Selected business proposals were awarded cash prizes and recognized at an awards ceremony hosted by the University’s Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship at the Silberman College of Business. Four finalists and eight semi-finalists each were chosen from northern, central and southern NJ, and additional prizes were awarded for ideas related to social innovation and sustainability.

“It’s a true privilege to be involved in a competition that challenges New Jersey youths to think outside the box and conceive original, innovative ideas,” said Richard Gearhart, founder of Gearhart Law. “For us, it’s an extension of how we work with entrepreneurs to help bring their ideas to fruition – from initial conception to eventual execution. The contest is a terrific way to practice meeting real-world needs and, hopefully, we’ll be working with some of these young ladies and gentlemen in the coming years.”

To support forward-thinking students in New Jersey, Gearhart has also established The Gearhart Law Foundation & Scholarship Program which is designed to encourage innovation and science studies for graduating high school seniors in northern New Jersey.

James Barrood, Executive Director of the nationally recognized Rothman Institute of Entrepreneurship at FDU said, “The objective is to foster an entrepreneurial mindset among New Jersey’s high school students. We want to recognize those who develop the brightest and most commercially feasible ideas. They are, after all, the future leaders of our state. ”

The list of winners is as follows:

Northern Region (Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Warren counties)

Emily Chang, Bergen County Academies – English Me, English You, English the World
Samantha Rizzuto, Academy of Math, Science & Engineering – Stem-Cam
Nishita Sinha, Chatham High School – Solarilet – The Decomposing Solar Toilet
Matt Stern, Bergen County Academies – Spread the Lax: Providing Lacrosse Opportunities to City Kids

Alex Bauer, Livingston Senior High School – Auto-Collapsible Crab Trap
Naomi Bonilla and Nikita D’Souza, Bergen County Academies – On-the-Go Therapeutic Backpack
Nick Corso and Anthony Conte, Bergen County Academies – The Allergy Detector
Alex Kim and Edward Rogan, N. Valley Regional High School at Demarest – The Wireless Alerting System
Bradley LeFebvre, Montville Township High School – Landfill Mining & Reclamation/Recycling System
Toni Livakovic, Bergen County Academies – DuoGreen: Go Green, Get Green
Darcey Morrison, Millburn High School – Top Bananaz – Ahead of the Curve!
Michael Patton, Livingston Senior High School – The Greenhouse Gas Filter
Rachel Shaiman, Livingston Senior High School – Parking Pal Anthony Wu, Bergen County

Taxi Tours Ha Jin You, Bergen Academies – Partners in Discovery: Empowering and Informing
Tomorrow’s Leaders
Hannah Yoo, Pascack Valley High School – Giving Children with Disabilities Abilities

Central Region (Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Union counties)

Kristen Plate, Kent Place School – 500? Yes, please!
Pramodh Janjanam and Irfan Shaik, South Brunswick High School – The Sensus
Somesh Ramnani, John F. Kennedy Memorial High School – Ecocoline- Keeping the Earth Green
Pavandeep Sandhu, Carteret High School – The Smart “Gun”

Jake Fine, The Peddie School – Insu-Patch: Taking the Shots Out of Diabetes Kunal Hanagandi, Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School
EShoes Pramodh Janjanam, South Brunswick High School – Pax: A Peace of Mind
Isaiah Pedroza and Nyree Hinton, Rahway High School – Mr. Pedroza’s
Devin Soni, Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School – Fire-and-Ice Shovel
Devin Soni, Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School – OmniText: Multifaceted Text

Devin Soni, Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School – Take Me There: Medical Facility Locator App
Kristen Vladyka, Franklin High School – Easy-Fridge

Southern Region (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Monmouth, Ocean, Salem)

Hamirah Austin, Oakcrest High School – The Power Egg
Joseph Nardone, Marine Academy of Sci-Tech – Color Changing Dust Mask for Depleted Uranium Detection
Connor Storms, Cherokee High School – The Multi Mower
Sam Wismer – Cherokee High School – Ampshell: Graphene Supercapacitor Performance

Dominique Brienza, Oakcrest High School – Parkinson’s Cup Kaylee Gallagher, Point Pleasant Borough High School – A Cup of Kindness
Mackenzie Galli, Point Pleasant Borough High School – Everything-In-One College Checklist
Steve Gravlin, Cherokee High School – Speed Stopper
Gabrielle Johnson, Oakcrest High School – Snooze-E
Paige Kristensen, Point Pleasant Borough High School –
Natalie Walters, Point Pleasant Borough High School – Congo Crafts for a Cause
Miles Washington-Jackson, Washington Township High School – FridgeCam

About the Author
Richard Gearhart, Esq. is the founder of Gearhart Law and the host of a weekly radio show for entrepreneurs called “Passage to Profit”. He has built a firm with an international presence that helps entrepreneurs from around the world with their patent, trademark and copyright needs. Richard commands a breadth of experience that comes from nearly 30 years of practice in the writing and prosecution of hundreds of patents, and in all aspects of Intellectual Property law. In 2022, Richard was recognized by ROI New Jersey as a 2022 ROI Influencer in the Law List category for being one of the best of the best in New Jersey for intellectual property law. Gearhart Law emerged from Richard’s passion for entrepreneurship and startups and his belief that entrepreneurship grows the economy and creates jobs. When we started Gearhart Law, our goal was to help and support the new business ventures of 500 entrepreneurs and inventors. After 12 years, the firm has far surpassed this goal; today, we look forward to helping even more inventors and entrepreneurs get off to a great start and reach their own goals.