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50 Years of Innovation: Introducing Role Models

“Should inventors be icons and heroes for a younger generation? The answer is yes because almost anything we touch today, all the comforts of life, better health, better transportation, communication, the internet, everything we do, the planes we fly in, were all created by inventors. That is what makes life comfortable and livable.”
— National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductee Arogyaswami Paulraj, inventor of MIMO wireless technology


At the National Inventors Hall of Fame, we believe everyone can invent, and we are committed to developing experiences that connect generations and spark innovation nationwide.

In carrying out our mission to recognize inventors, promote creativity, and advance the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, for the past 50 years, we have shared the lessons and stories of some of the world’s most inspiring role models: our Inductees.

As we mark the golden anniversary of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, we invite you to join us in celebrating extraordinary, innovative role models.

Promoting Innovative Role Models

Inventors are ideal role models because the qualities they demonstrate are valuable not only in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) but in all areas of life. From creative problem solving and collaboration to empathy, persistence and confidence, the strengths and skills associated with great inventors are beneficial for everyone to emulate.

In the first 50 years of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, more than 600 creators, innovators and entrepreneurs have been inducted — so when you visit our Inductee search page, you can find hundreds of outstanding role models.

One of the ways in which many Inductees share their insights with the next generation of innovators is by serving as Judges in the Collegiate Inventors Competition® (CIC). This national competition is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for graduate and undergraduate student inventors. Each year, Finalists not only have the chance to win cash prizes, but they also gain valuable feedback and mentorship from National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees.

CIC Finalists themselves make great role models. They demonstrate persistence and creative problem solving by developing innovations with the potential to shape industries and improve lives. To learn about a few of these innovators and their accomplishments, visit our blogs featuring 2018 CIC Graduate Winner and former Camp Invention® camper Nicole Black; 2013 CIC Finalist Arlyne Simon; and 2019 CIC Finalist Lia Winter.

Inductees and CIC Finalists also influence the curricula for National Inventors Hall of Fame education programs including Camp Invention and Invention Project®. These programs connect children with remarkable role models and help them to unlock their own potential.


Inspiring the Next Generation

Studies show that exposure to innovation in childhood can significantly increase the likelihood that a child will continue thinking like an innovator as they grow. So for children to realize their own creative potential, it’s essential that they are exposed to diverse and relatable innovators.

When children have role models who look, sound or learn like them, it helps them gain confidence in their own ideas, abilities and potential. Additionally, when they are exposed to role models who are different from them, they learn to respect the ideas, abilities and potential of others.

Camp Invention and Invention Project connect children with innovative role models who represent diverse fields, backgrounds, perspectives and experiences. These role models include not only the Inductees and CIC Finalists who inspire and influence the curricula, but also the educators who lead the programs and the Leaders-in-Training and Leadership Interns who serve as mentors to the younger children participating in Camp Invention.

Families who enroll their children in our programs tell us that these unique opportunities to identify great role models make a meaningful impact on their young innovators.

“My daughter showed little interest in STEM activities before attending Camp Invention. This camp was important to me because I wanted her to have additional exposure to STEM. I want my daughter to pursue whatever path she dreams of. She now has such a drive to create, invent and problem solve.”
— Amber H., Camp Invention parent, Evans, CO


“My son wants to be a camp helper when he is old enough. That is a testament to how much fun he had at camp, the teachers and helpers [Leaders-in-Training and Leadership Interns] serving as role models, and that he wants to share STEM with others.”
— Camp Invention parent


Share Your Story

Do you have a story about how an innovative role model has inspired you or a child in your life? Visit our website to share your story and learn how you could win a trip to Washington, D.C., to help us celebrate our 50th anniversary at our 2023 Induction Ceremony!

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