2018 classmates win two innovation competitions

With one innovation contest win already under their white coats and scrubs, two recent West Virginia University School of Dentistry dental hygiene graduates took the top prize from yet another invention challenge.

The clinic invention designed by Samantha Farley and Kristen Hanlan has earned the 2018 Department of Dental Hygiene graduates a total of $13,000 in prize money to help in the patenting and production process of the equipment.

Without revealing the complete properties of the invention, it is designed to improve the efficiency, convenience and sanitization of crucial equipment used in dental clinics daily and for nearly all oral healthcare procedures.

On May 16, Farley and Hanlan won a $10,000 grand prize from the West Virginia Clinical and Translational Science Institute. The team of dental hygienists was among 7 groups presenting at the annual WVCTSI meeting’s shark tank session.

Kristen Hanlan, Dr. Clay Marsh, Samantha Farley
Kristen Hanlan
Dr. Clay Marsh, Vice President & Executive Dean for Health Sciences
Samantha Farley

Contestants had to prove to a panel of experts from West Virginia University and Marshall University that their invention could solve inefficiency and procedure issues and provide more effective patient care.

Kristen Hanlan, Sam Farley

Farley and Hanlan’s 4-minute innovation and commercialization pitch for their prototype earned them the competition’s grand prize.

Prior to completing their bachelor’s degrees, Farley and Hanlan finished first place in a WVU LaunchLab competition where they collected $1,500 in prize money.

The dental hygienists initially began work on the invention as part of their senior year research projects. Aside from presenting to faculty and classmates, Farley and Hanlan have traveled nationally to share their idea. They have been encouraged to expand upon their dental clinic and oral healthcare invention for use in hospital surgical settings as well.

Sam Farley, Kristen Hanlan


The two have won close to $13,000 in prize money.  They placed first in the WVU Launch Lab Fall Kick Off competition, third in the WVU Women’s Pitch competition, made top 10 in the Draper competition at Smith College, and took first prize in the WV Clinical and Translational Science Institute Shark Tank competition. 

WVCTSI is funded by an IDeA Clinical and Translational grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (2U54GM104942-02) to support the mission of building clinical and translational research infrastructure and capacity to impact health disparities in West Virginia.