Trinity College’s Entrepreneurship Center hosted Hartford area middle school students and middle and high school students from Singapore, Mexico, and China at a Global Youth Invention Summit Hackathon this month at Trinity’s Innovation Hub in downtown Hartford.

Global Youth Invention Summit Hackathon
Trinity’s Entrepreneurship Center hosted a Global Youth Invention Summit Hackathon at the Trinity College Innovation Hub in downtown Hartford.

More than 20 international students were teamed with 15 students from Hartford’s Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, Global Communications Academy in Hartford, East Hartford Middle School, and East Hartford’s Sunset Ridge Middle School to solve a pet safety challenge by creating new inventions that would help protect pets from things that could harm them.

The program was coordinated by Trinity, the Connecticut Invention Convention, and the Global Youth Invention Summit. Students from Trinity College and teachers from the visiting three countries and from Hartford were on hand to support students in their inventing challenge.

“It’s such a unique opportunity for our students to be able to interact in person with students from other cultures so far away and collaborate on solving a problem that exists in all of their cultures,” said Oluwakayode Adebowale, executive director of East Hartford’s Blended Learning and Study Center, who also teaches science. “The students had to quickly meet other students who may or may not speak English, use online and other tools to communicate, get to know them, and then invent a new product that could work in any of their countries. That’s an amazing enrichment experience for our students.”

Global Youth Invention Summit Hackathon
Alex Cacciato ’25, co-founder of, speaks to students.

Students invented a wide range of pet protection products, including special collars that would be detected by cars when near and an automatic repelling spray to keep pets away from certain areas.

Alex Cacciato ’25, co-founder of, shared his experience founding and running his startup business while attending Trinity College. “I started this business with my parents because we wanted to make sure what happened to us [losing a valued item to TSA during an airport security screening] would not happen to others,” he explained to the students, encouraging them to translate problems in their lives into solutions that can impact the world. Flippit is deploying in airports across America, including the nearby Bradley International Airport.

The international students were in town showcasing their own inventions at the Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC) 2024 finals, held June 8 at the University of Connecticut’s Gampel Pavilion in Storrs.

Danny Briere is executive director of Trinity College’s Entrepreneurship Center.