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North Stonington girl wins national award for ‘ChemotheraPop’ invention

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Finding a feather in Washington, D.C., was a special moment, among many, for Sophie Broderick last Saturday.

Broderick, 9, a fourth-grader at North Stonington Elementary School, was in the nation’s capital as a young inventor invited to the National Invention Convention and Entrepreneurship Expo, held at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Va.

Out of 318 inventors at the expo, Broderick won the Consumer Goods/Fashion Award for her “ChemotheraPop,” a nutritious popsicle for people going through chemotherapy.

It was her grandmother’s experience with chemotherapy that inspired Broderick to experiment with ingredients like fruit and protein powder to make a popsicle that would be healthful and also soothing to the mouth sores chemotherapy patients experience.

“I’ve got different flavors — raspberries and honey, maple oatmeal, peanut butter banana chocolate,” Broderick said Wednesday back at her school, where she displayed three popsicles with messages she added to the back, such as “Keep Fighting,” “I Admire Your Courage” and “Never Give Up.”

Broderick said that her research showed most cancer patients lose weight during chemotherapy and she wanted her invention to be more nutritious than a Fudgsicle, which her grandmother used to soothe her mouth. Her pops have 10 grams of protein, whereas a Fudgsicle has one 1. She added that her research showed that 6.8 million people will undergo chemotherapy for the first time in 2017-18.

She’s already had requests for more batches of the product and is thinking about about experimenting with other flavors.

“I have a whole notebook page of other flavors, like one with all kinds of berries, and one I really want to try is called the green monster with vegetables and spinach in it — that one would be really different,” she said.

She said she never saw any of the judges looking at her invention and didn’t think she would win.

“At the awards ceremony, they were calling different categories, and when they called consumer goods, I knew I was in that category but I didn’t expect to get it,” she said. “My hands were shaking and I said, ‘That’s me!’”

Broderick was one of four students from her school invited to the national expo. Across Connecticut, 17,000 students participated in invention conventions at their schools and 140 were chosen as state semifinalists, and among those 100 were invited to the national competition.

The national convention and expo was started by the STEMIE Coalition. STEMIE is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math linked to Invention and Entrepreneurship (STEM+I+E). The organization comprises various educational groups from around the United States, including the Connecticut Invention Convention.

Besides a plaque designating her award, Broderick also won a combined tablet-laptop, which the school’s Invention Convention coordinator, Jane Servidio, said would be useful to her when she comes up with next year’s invention or works on developing a patent for “ChemotheraPop.”

“She could also become part of the Next Step Inventor program, which is through the Connecticut Invention Convention, which are the students going through and applying for patents,” Servidio said.

About the feather, Broderick said that after her grandmother died, she started seeing feathers everywhere.

“So now we have this whole feather jar at home where we collect them,” she said.

When Broderick found a feather in D.C., it was a significant moment.

“When we were walking to dinner, I saw this big feather on the street and I put it in my tag so that when I was presenting it was there,” she said. “I think she’s very, very proud of me.”

Story from TheWesterlySun.

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