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Not your usual 19-year-old

Ann Makosinski, inventor of the Hollow Flashlight and the eDrink, will speak to Sault youth at local entrepreneur summit
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20170921-Ann Makosinski Youth Entrepreneursip Summit-DT
Inventor Ann Makosinksi, inventor and one of several keynote speakers at the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit being held at the Water Tower Inn, Sept. 21, 2017. Darren Taylor/SooToday

Ann Makosinski, 19, is already making her mark on today’s innovative, entrepreneurial society.

Makosinksi has been described as a ‘Global Influencer’ and a ‘Media Darling,’ having given numerous inspirational speeches to youth, named as one of Time’s 30 Under 30 and appearing twice on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

“I just see myself as Ann the 19-year-old who makes inventions,” she smiled, speaking to SooToday Thursday at the Water Tower Inn, where she will be speaking to youth attending the first annual YES Algoma (Youth Entrepreneurship Summit) event this evening.

Her Hollow Flashlight runs off the heat of the human hand, and gives off enough light for one to read and do homework, like a reading light.

Makosinski is currently working to bring the device to the manufacturing and global distribution stage.

An industry partner is currently working to improve the device so that it gives off more light.

“It’s more of a novelty item right now in the North American market and I see it put in emergency kits.”

Her eDrink is a device she designed which converts the excess heat from one’s coffee, cooling it into electricity which can give a phone or iPod a boost of energy.

“That will take a few years (to bring to the market). The flashlight will come first.”

“I’m very creative. I love both science and the arts. I like tinkering and those inventions are what happened,” said Makosinski, a Victoria, B.C. native currently studying English Literature at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver.

“I do my science and business outside of school and I do my arts in school so I have that balance of science and art,” Makosinski said, balancing that with public appearances and speeches.

“Eighty per cent of learning actually happens outside of school,” she said.

Makosinksi said she believes once an individual can learn to maximize both the scientific and creative parts of the brain, then that person will come up with the best ideas and solutions.

“I think it's important to have that balance because I think the jobs and the work of the future over the next 20 years is going to be so radically different that people will need to have multiple skills in multiple areas,” Makosinski said, adding formal education is important to have, along with independent innovation outside of school.

How does it feel to be so intelligent and widely recognized at 19?

“I don’t think ‘I’m so cool,’ I’ve never been like that, my parents kept me down to earth.”

“I started doing science fairs in Grade 6 and I didn’t even tell my friends about it because I was so shy. I’m just grateful that I’m in this position now to inspire other young people.”

The first annual Youth Entrepreneurship Summit has been arranged by the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre (SSMIC), and runs throughout today and Friday with several keynote speakers, workshops and networking opportunities for entrepreneurially-minded Sault youth to link up with developers.