NJ Idea Awards

NJ Patent Law Firm Sponsors Statewide High School Competition Searching for New Jersey’s Best Ideas

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 Entrepreneurshipat theSilberman 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 – Tellmeinten.com

Natalie Walters, Point Pleasant Borough High School – Congo Crafts for a Cause

Miles Washington-Jackson, Washington Township High School – FridgeCam

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