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Irvine Valley College to host
29th Annual
"Astounding Inventions" Competition

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The popular science contest features ingenious gadgets made by Kindergarten through Eighth Grade Students


Young inventors from kindergarten through eighth grade will compete on January 30, 2016 in the 29th Annual Irvine Valley College (IVC) "Astounding Inventions" competition, presented by Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear, LLP and the Irvine Valley College Foundation.


The 2016 competition and exhibition will be held in IVC’s Hart Gymnasium and feature a variety of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities, displays and demonstrations.


More than 450 students from South Orange County will present inventions that they have conceived and crafted on their own. The students will compete for $10,000 in cash prizes, certificates of achievement and ribbons from the Irvine Valley College Foundation. The inventions will be grouped by grade level and will be judged on their originality, usefulness, and a written description and illustration submitted by the student. Over sixty judges representing the scientific, education, civic and business communities will determine the winners at the event. In addition, as part of its title sponsorship, Knobbe Martens selects two student’s inventions from the event (one from Irvine Unified School District and one from Tustin Unified School District), based on the perceived patentability, and offers to conduct a pro bono prior art search and write a provisional patent application for the invention. Knobbe Martens Partner, Lance Smemoe, states, "Knobbe Martens is proud to support the "Astounding Inventions" competition in developing a passion for science and innovation in young students."


  • 9:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Judging of student inventions
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Public viewing of student inventions
  • 1 p.m. – Awards Ceremony: Grade K, 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8
  • 2:15 p.m. – Awards Ceremony: Grades 4 and 5
  • 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Displays and demonstrations outside of Hart Gym


During the fall of 2015, nearly 4,000 students representing 40 schools in the Irvine and Tustin Unified School Districts submitted their inventions for judging at their schools. From this, approximately 450 finalists are chosen to compete in the 2016 Astounding Inventions Competition. Past inventions have run from the whimsical to the remarkable and have included dozens of clever pet grooming devices, remote control gizmos, and relief from everyday challenges of children and their parents. The event was conceived by Irvine Valley College in 1987 to promote creativity and interest in STEM education in our community. Award winners may go on to compete at different levels of state and national math and science invention competitions.

Past Sponsors have included AT&T, Doctor's Ambulance, Edwards Lifesciences, Emerson Process Management, Enterprise Counsel Group, Grainger, Irvine Ranch Water District, Iwamoto Kong, Klein, O'Neill & Singh, LLP, Micromachines LLC, OC Nissan, Parker, Raytheon, Rosemount Analytical, and US Bank. For sponsorship involvement, please call the Irvine Valley College Foundation at 949-451-5290


Elissa Oransky
Executive Director

Melissa Martinez
Director of Annual Giving and Development Services

Karen Martin
Development Associate 

Karen Orlando
Development Assistant

T: 949-451-5290
O: B200 Building, Room 251

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