Behind the Scenes: Sister Inventors

Stephanie and Elizabeth Vicarte live an hour and 45 minutes away from KID Museum, but that didn’t stop them from entering KID’s Toy 2.0 Challenge. The young makers went on to win the invention competition, with two of their other designs in the top ten. To give back to the place that taught them so much, the sisters returned to KID Museum this year as Apprentices.

Before the Toy 2.0 Challenge, Stephanie, 13, and Elizabeth, 15, had experience making robots through their middle school robotics club, which competed in the VEX Robotics Competition. But the sisters were mainly self-taught, spending their spare time learning about engineering and design online. When they came to KID Museum to develop their designs, they were excited to work with expert mentors and have access to different tools and technologies.

Stephanie, the designated programmer in the duo, cherished the personal attention she received from KID Museum staff during mentoring sessions. “It was an eye opener,” Stephanie said. “I learned a lot about programming that I didn’t know before.”

After winning the Toy 2.0 Challenge, the sisters couldn’t stay away from KID Museum. As Apprentices, they lead stations on the museum floor, and they even have the opportunity to pitch their own demonstrations. For KID’s Father’s Day event, they created a station on the basics of animatronics and showed off their latest inventions, lights that change colors as violins are played. “We thought it would be a good opportunity to get closer to KID Museum so we could teach the kids what we know,” Elizabeth said.
“It would be really great to have more places that support young kids and push them more towards STEM,” Stephanie said. In the meantime, both sisters agree that the long drive to KID Museum is well worth the opportunities it provides.

Jamie Gleklen