Braun Student Inventor Award

The Ann and Dave Braun Student Inventor Award was established to recognize a South Dakota Mines student who has made a significant discovery or invention as a student at Mines. The selected recipient of this award will be recognized at the Research Symposium, will receive a $5,000 cash prize and a free patent application from Goodhue, Coleman & Owens, P.C. and McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. 

Eligibility Requirements 

Must be an individual or student group from South Dakota Mines.

Submissions/Judging Criteria 

Each student must email or deliver a signed invention disclosure to the office of Economic Development. You will be judged on the completeness and clarity of the invention disclosure (40%) and the utility, novelty and non-obviousness of the invention (60%). 



Deliver or email a signed original invention disclosure to:

Joseph Wright  
Office of Economic Development    
Vanderboom Laboratory for Entrepreneurial Research (V-LAB)

February 29, 2024                 
Judges will review Invention Disclosures
Week of March 4, 2024                 
Winner will be notified

Week of March 18, 2024                    

Winner(s) will be announced at the Research Symposium and receive $5,000 cash prize and a free patent application from Goodhue, Coleman & Owens, P.C. or McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC.
April 9, 2024

Braun Inventor Award Winners

2023 Braun Student Inventor Award Recipients

Kathy Mathieu, R3 PLA Recycler 
Mathieu along with a mechanical engineering senior design team of students won the undergraduate award for an invention that improves the recycling of plastic used in 3D printers. The system includes a grinder to shred plastic for melting in an extruder and a spooling system that allows extruded plastic thread to cool before being wound on a spool for later printing. Other students on the team include Andy Perez, Kelvin Su, Blake Hyla, Taylor Kirkvold and Macauley Haag

Sam Ryckman, Differential Belt Speed Reducer
Ryckman’s invention is a very high reduction gearbox that can fit in an extremely small footprint. By mounting an electric motor inside a gearbox, he solved several problems associated with more conventional gearboxes. His differential belt speed reducer invention can support a wide range of applications from robotics to multiple forms of automation. 

2022 Braun Student Inventor Award Recipients

Whytneigh Duffie, Disappearing 4D Advanced Materials 
Duffie’s invention is a new type of high-resolution 3D printer resin that dissolves in water.  The product can be used in the injection molding process for manufacturing in a wide range of industries. The applications could include precision casting of parts that are difficult to machine, end-of-life disposal of a part or device to prevent reverse engineering of sensitive technology, and a wide range of medical uses from new types of casts for broken bones to wound coverings to drug delivery. 

Kaleb Roth, Forever Fire 
Roth's invention is new and innovative campfire starting device he invented called Forever Fire. It uses human-powered generator to power electronic parts, which can produce an electric arc in all weather conditions.

2021 Braun Student Inventor Award Recipients

Kim Yip Chiok, BioTape 
His invention is a medical bandage for wound care made from cellulose biofilm. The biofilm has a 98% water holding capacity to retain medicine and offers a 50% increase in the wound healing rate with fewer dressings. 

Kristie Gildemeister, Itty Bitty Acre, LLC
Her invention provides an innovative solution to address reliability of electrocatalysts used in fuel cells through novel use of plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) coating methodologies using nanoparticles to produce a far superior electrocatalyst compared to those commercially available today. 

Office of Economic Development

(605) 394-5168