Nicole Black has won 1st Place in the judged portion of the Collegiate Inventors Competition in Washington, DC. Nicole and her collegue Michael Kreder participated as "Team PionEar" as one of six graduate teams competing in the event.
The competition is hosted by the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Their invention, nicknamed "PionEar" is something that Nicole had been working on while under the SHBT minor program and in collaboration with Aaron Remenschneider and Elliott Kozin in the Eaton-Peabody Laboratories at Mass Eye and Ear. Nicole states that her work on this project was inspired by the SHBT clinical class that she took, "Upon seeing the tympanosclerosis present in my own eardrum from the tympanostomy tubes I had as a child, I wanted to design tubes that could be smaller and less invasive."
Her pioneering work was also featured in Smithsonian Magazine: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/ear-tubes-may-finally-get-upgrade-180970946/
More about the Team PionEar project can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIk9wnPg8AI&t=2s
More information about the competition can be found at: https://www.invent.org/collegiate-inventors