L. Clara Mabour


Staff Report

OAKLAND PARK, Fla. – A Northeast High School teacher who was also once a student there has been awarded the Lemelson-MIT Excite Award, which is given annually to a select group of educators based on their capacity to lead a yearlong, open-ended invention project with students at their school.

As an award recipient, L. Clara Mabour will travel to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for invention education and professional development.

Award recipients participate in invention education learning opportunities as part of an all-expense paid trip to MIT for the Lemelson-MIT Program’s annual EurekaFest, a multi-day invention celebration in mid-June.

Five years ago, Northeast High received the $10,000 InvenTeam grant from Lemelson-MIT, when Mabour, then a student inventor on the school’s team, helped to create a portable water sanitation system that could be used after natural disasters.

Two members of the Northeast High team were invited to attend the 2013 White House Science Fair, where they persuaded President Obama to ride the bicycle that powered their water filtration system.

As a science teacher at her alma mater, Mabour advises a new group of student inventors who will apply for the $10,000 Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam grant.

“I am honored to be chosen for an Excite Award,” said Mabour. “Not too long ago, I was a student on the Northeast High InvenTeam. Participating in the LemelsonMIT program was a life changing experience, which I am excited to now share with my students.”

At the EurekaFest, Excite Award recipients meet and are inspired by current InvenTeam award winners who created technological solutions to real-world problems. Mabour will see the InvenTeam projects, learn more about the InvenTeam experience and attend hands-on workshops and discussions led by MIT professors.

“Excite Award educators who attend EurekaFest leave the event prepared to ignite an interest among high school students in science, math, engineering and invention,” said Leigh Estabrooks, invention education officer from the Lemelson-MIT Program. “They gain new techniques to empower their students through problem solving and encourage a sustainable culture of invention in their school and community.”

Mabour will work with Northeast High students and mentors throughout the summer to finalize Northeast High’s InvenTeam grant application. She will also reach out to community members with expertise in fields related to the problem that the students plan to address through a technological invention to receive insight and guidance on how their invention can best serve the community.

A prestigious panel of judges composed of educators, researchers, staff and alumni from MIT, as well as former Lemelson-MIT award winners, will assemble in the fall and select the final InvenTeam grantees.