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16 Under 16 in STEM: A Teen Inventor Aims to Get More Girls Into STEM Careers

When Lydia Denton isn’t busy inventing, she’s inspiring young women to chase STEM careers and pursue what they love “no matter what others think”


Today we’re continuing our showcase of America’s 16 under 16 in STEM — young learners who have already made a meaningful mark in their schools and communities. In North Carolina, we’re celebrating 14-year-old Lydia Denton, a teen inventor whose personal challenges have come to inspire her creations, and set her on a mission to get more girls interested in STEM.

Lydia has life-threatening allergies and suffers from severe anxiety, which causes her hair and nails to fall out. “So much of her life feels out of her control, but instead of letting these things overwhelm her or define her, she uses them as fuel for inventions,” said her nominator and mother, Covey Denton, a K-8 STEM specialty teacher.

One example: Lydia created what she calls a “Halcyon Bracelet” to help with body-focused repetitive behaviors, which plagued her during the COVID quarantine. She’s also invented a “Beat the Heat Car Seat” that can tell when a child has been left in a car, and initiates a call to emergency services if the temperature in the vehicle becomes dangerously hot.

The teen also works to reduce e-waste, and co-founded Regame Inc., a nonprofit that collects, repairs and redistributes used gaming systems and tablets to keep them from piling up in landfills.

Above and beyond her creations and innovations, Denton also continues to speak to school groups and programs for girls to promote greater female interest and representation in STEM.

Watch our full interview — and celebrate our full 2022 class!

—Video edited by James Fields and produced by Emmeline Zhao

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