Congratulations are in order for 14-year-old Naya Ellis. The talented teen has recently created a watch to detect stroke symptoms in patients. This incredible engineering invention has awarded Ellis the title of champion in the National STEM Challenge.

Naya Ellis at the STEM NOLA competition. STEM NOLA

The invention, called, WingItt, is designed to measure the heartbeat and nerve impulses of individuals to pick up early signs of stroke. The John F. Kennedy High School New Orleans freshman created the life-saving mechanism through a program called STEM NOLA, which is designed to give K-12 students the opportunity to learn and participate in hands-on science, technology, engineering and math projects.


With science having been her favorite subject since she could remember, Ellis set out to help change the lives of many.

“I want to do something I’m interested in, that will also change the world,” she said in a recent interview with the74million.org.

She continued, telling the outlet that she honestly didn’t think that she would win. “I never thought that I would win,” Naya commented. But continued in her interview saying that she truly looks forward to presenting her watch at the National STEM Festival in Washington, DC. She stated that she also looks forward to seeing the other inventions as well. 

So, just how does Naya’s amazing invention work?

Well, per the74million.org, the watch detects nerve impulses and heartbeats of potential stroke victims. Naya said that this is germane to early detection as many stroke victims may develop noticeable signs such as a droopy face or strange taste in their mouth, but she wanted to create something that can detect internal symptoms. Per her research, the teen discovered that strokes were more common in people 55 and older than in younger people, so she wanted to cater to this demographic.

Currently, she is working out the kinks in the cog of her prototype. Naya wants to ensure that the watch is detecting only strokes and not picking up on other issues, such as those involving the heart.

Although there are scores of coveted careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math arenas, Black employees are still extremely underrepresented in STEM fields. New data suggests that although Black children are extremely interested in pursuing STEM careers, they lack early access to resources.

We are hoping that young inventors like Naya can help change those statistics and shine a light on the amazing talents that are embedded in the Black community in terms of STEM! Congratulations, Naya. We cannot wait to see what amazing things you do next.



Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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