Today’s science-minded students aspire to be tomorrow’s inventors

Today’s science-minded students aspire to be tomorrow’s inventors

When Rose Garrett and Tyrone Stagner graduated in 2018, it was a bit of a surprise to see this dynamic science duo back on our Coos Campus in 2019. Some students just can’t get enough of Southwestern’s science classes.

“It makes a huge difference being able to have a small class and ask those questions,” Tyrone said. “I realized how valuable it was to take the classes here with Dr. Coyner, Dr. Springer and Dr. K.”

Our STARS shine in state competition

That fascination with physics, chemistry and math prompted Rose and Tyrone to pull together SWOCC’s 2019 InventOR team, with students Korina Shipstad and Austin Friedrich. InventOR is a statewide invention competition for college students to develop solutions to problems they see in their communities.

You might have read about our team. They created a prototype for Self Tightening And Retractable Shoes or STARS. Southwestern made it to the final round of the InventOR competition. They didn’t win, but it was worth the experience.

“We learned as a group that everybody has ideas, and everybody butts heads. You have to listen to everybody’s ideas to really try to figure out what’s going to work best,” Tyrone said.

Southwestern propels duo to university programs

Both are headed to universities – Rose in chemical engineering and Tyrone in electrical/software engineering. So far, they’ve been able to pay for school with scholarships, financial aid, PELL grants and tuition waivers for working in student government on campus. Ultimately,  Rose and Tyrone want their masters degrees, so they can work in research and discovery.

“It’d be cool to work for NASA or SpaceX or Google,” Rose said.

No surprise there. Both are already well on their way to inventing products for the future.


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