IMSA, Tellabs Foundation select finalists for Next Generation Innovators Award - Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy

IMSA, Tellabs Foundation select finalists for Next Generation Innovators Award


Contact: Catherine Stieg

Community & Alumni Relations


Aurora, IL, August 22, 2017 – The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy and Tellabs Foundation are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2017 Tellabs Foundation Next Generation Innovators Award—an award that encourages and recognizes entrepreneurial-minded middle school students from across Illinois.

Four applicants have been selected to receive the inaugural award: three individuals and one team, each with a product or working prototype that has a significant, positive social impact. EpilEXPERT, developed by Monika Narain, 13, of Schaumburg, is an easy, wearable EGG sensor connected to an Android app that helps track, monitor, and record seizures and medications for people with epilepsy. The alert system assists patients in receiving assistance and physicians in tracking and customizing treatment plans.

Joshua Orr, a 13 year old from Naperville, is a finalist with Fast Exit, an intelligent exit sign system designed to dramatically reduce evacuation times during disasters. Fast Exit provides real-time, safe exit information to users resulting in an evacuation that is four times faster than simply following static signs.

New Bee-ginnings, a bee house designed to provide a place safe from pesticides and human interference, is designed by 12 year old Kaden Welch from Morris. There has been a recent drop in bee populations worldwide, and New Bee-ginnings serves to boost that very important population of pollinators.

Rounding out the awardees, is a team of four middle school students from Aurora—Prarthana Prashantha, Milind Sagaram, Srikand Lokes, and Shreyas Rao. This team is developing a clean energy conservation system that converts electrical energy, supplied by solar power into potential energy to then be released generating electrical energy.

“These young innovators are developing ideas and solutions for some of the world’s greatest challenges,” stated IMSA President, Dr. José M. Torres. “The Tellabs Foundation Next Generation Innovators Award recognizes students from across Illinois and brings them to IN2@IMSA to help fuel and mentor their entrepreneurial spirit. IMSA is a natural fit to not only recognize, but to encourage these students as they continue to develop their products and entrepreneurship skills.”

The winners will be recognized at a ceremony and luncheon at IMSA on September 9, 2017. Award winners receive a one-year membership to IMSA’s newly opened innovation center, IN2 the Steve and Jamie Chen Center for Innovation & Inquiry. IN2 helps young entrepreneurs gain access to networking and educational programs, taking their innovation to the next level.

NBC 5 Chicago is a proud supporter of the Tellabs Foundation Next Generation Innovators Award. “NBC 5 Chicago is proud to support the IMSA-Tellabs Foundation Innovators Award as part of our Making A Difference initiative. We are committed to shining a light on the positive and inspiring people and organizations that are making an impact and the young people in this program are doing just that,” says Emma Asante, NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago VP of Special Projects and Community Relations.


Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy® (IMSA) develops creative, ethical leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As a teaching and learning laboratory created by the State of Illinois, IMSA enrolls academically talented Illinois students (grades 10-12), in its advanced residential college preparatory program. Additionally, IMSA serves thousands of educators and students in Illinois and beyond through innovative instructional programs that foster imagination and inquiry. IMSA advances education through research, groundbreaking ventures and strategic partnerships. To learn more about IMSA and its programs, visit