Thomas Pryor and Navid Azodi are undergraduate sophomore students at the University of Washington (UW) studying Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering and Business Administration, respectively. The two met their freshman year and connected over a shared interest in invention and problem solving.
Thomas, from Tucson, Ariz., has held internships at Raytheon and Boeing and has worked in multiple aerospace research labs at the University of Arizona and at the University of Washington. Thomas currently works as an undergraduate researcher in the Composite Structures Laboratory at UW and is also the software engineering lead of the Husky Robotics Team at UW where he mentors, teaches, and leads a team of 30 students. Thomas is also a part of the UW Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation and the Minority Scholars in Engineering programme at UW. He was also part of the Boy Scouts of America where his hard work and dedication to his troop and community earned him the rank of Eagle Scout.
Navid, from Covington, Wash., gained technical expertise as a systems intern at NASA, a product manager for a startup, a technology lead for UW Information Technology, and as a campus representative for Apple. He is currently a leader in UW’s Student Government and works for Scholarship Junkies, an organisation providing resources and tools to help students secure scholarships to achieve academic success. He is an organiser for DubHacks, the largest hackathon in the Pacific Northwest where students from around the world gather to code and create new innovative technologies. Navid has organised dozens of blood drives in his community and has volunteered with Seattle Union Gospel, Northwest Harvest, and Ethiopia Reads for the last few years. Navid founded and directed a peer tutoring programme in high school, represented the U.S. as a Youth Ambassador to China, and participated in the Washington Aerospace Scholars programme. Due to his extensive leadership and youth mentorship background, Navid has been chosen as a Washington State Scholar, BECU Foundation Scholar, and Coca-Cola Regional Scholar.
They are the $10,000 Lemelson-MIT “Eat it!” Undergraduate Winners for their invention SignAloud, gloves that translate sign language into text and speech.