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August 1, 2022

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Notre Dame Prep teacher creates avatar and attends a special virtual summer camp on intellectual property hosted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

Notre Dame Prep teacher Louise Palardy created an avatar as part of her participation in a USPTO National Summer Teacher Institute virtual camp. Here she is in the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Late last month, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Office of Education conducted a virtual National Summer Teacher Institute (NSTI) camp on innovation, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and intellectual property. 

According to camp participant Louise Palardy, NDPMA's STEM specialist, science teacher and robotics teams coordinator, it was well worth her time as she learned about patents, trademarks, copyrights and other forms of IP and, most importantly, how to integrate this content into STEM education, a huge part of Notre Dame Prep's academic program.

"The camp actually was held in a virtual reality campus and was run by Dr. Jorge Valdes, who is education program director at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)," Palardy said. "There were a number of great sessions, including one from the keynote speaker, Dr. Steven Newell, from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Executive Office of the President. His message was about turning discovery into reality and changing the world through innovation."

The camp was centered around the four main categories of intellectual property: patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets, including their use, what they are and how to use them to create a brand. 

"The patent section, for example, was about using a patent search engine to find out if an invention has already been patented and if so, to perhaps use it for inspiration instead," said Palardy, who created an avatar for the week-long event. 

She noted that the focus during the entire camp was on how best to add or supplement "invention education" into a school's curriculum. 

"We also were fortunate to be able to attend a live session hosted by the Smithsonian National Education Summit Convergence," she said. "Titled 'A Framework to Help K-12 STEAM Educators Teach about Real-World Transdisciplinary Problems and Phenomena,' the message was to engage students about where disciplines converge, since the problems that are so relevant to our lives, our communities and our society as a whole often cross disciplinary boundaries."

Throughout the camp, Palardy said she and other participants worked in small groups to create their own inventions, take them through the patent search process, create a product name, logo and tagline, and ensure that they were not already taken through a trademark and copyright search. 

"I worked with a teacher from Hawaii and one from Maryland," she said. "We presented our product pitch on the last day along with 10 other teams to a judging panel of actual USPTO examiners. We actually won the Most Creative Invention Award."

Last semester, Notre Dame Prep's first-in-the-nation engineering and empathy class worked on developing products to assist quadriplegics and others who suffer from limb loss or paralysis.

Palardy also noted how well the curriculum on intellectual property fits in with the Project Invent curriculum that Notre Dame Prep is currently using in its groundbreaking Engineering and Empathy class

"Our class currently focuses on community partnership and creating a technological invention. Now, with this new knowledge in hand, I plan on including an intellectual property overview and dedicating more time for creating and protecting brands for each of our team inventions."

More on the National Summer Teacher Institute (NSTI):
NSTI combines experiential training tools, practices, and project-based learning models to support elementary, middle and high school teachers and increase their knowledge of inventing and innovating. The central focus of NSTI is to create and protect intellectual property — this includes inventions, knowledge discovery, creative ideas and expressions of the human mind that may have commercial value and are protectable under patent, trademark, copyright or trade secret laws. Intellectual property is modeled as both a teaching and learning platform to help inspire and motivate student achievement in STEM disciplines, computer science and other fields of study, such as innovation and entrepreneurship.

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at