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Behind the NIHF Scenes

How Our Inductees and Collegiate Inventors Inspire NIHF Education Programs

At the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), each year we have the distinct privilege of both honoring the world’s most accomplished inventors, our NIHF Inductees, and rewarding some of the most promising undergraduate and graduate student inventors from across the country, our Collegiate Inventors Competition® (CIC) winners.

While the NIHF Induction Ceremony and CIC represent one-of-a-kind events that help to preserve and inspire our nation’s long history of innovation, both our NIHF Inductees and collegiate inventors also directly influence the development of our PreK-12 education programs. Read below to learn more!


Authentic Inductee Integration

The activities within all NIHF education programs are created using real-life lessons and stories from our Inductees. Students who participate in our summer, afterschool and in-school programs experience authentic invention education that invites them to invent solutions to real-world problems.

Thanks to our programs’ thorough Inductee integration, participating children are presented with video challenges, interviews and special tips from our Hall of Famers. They also have the opportunity to identify an innovative role model. Research has shown that children who are exposed to innovation at an early age are more likely to innovate as they age.

Since 2013, our Inductees have engaged in over 100 virtual and in-person visits to Camp Invention® sites across the country. Additionally, our deep collaboration with these innovators has also allowed us to identify nine essential skills and traits that unlock creative potential.

Inspiration From Collegiate Inventors

Like our Inductees, our collegiate inventors also play an integral role in the development of our education programs. Their inclusion in our programming inspires children who might also be interested in furthering their STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education at the collegiate level.

Especially for those who have been historically underrepresented in the STEM fields, identifying with someone they can relate to is an important way to help children feel welcome and cultivate a sense of belonging.

A 2013 CIC Graduate Finalist who has since become a biomedical engineer, patented inventor and author, Arlyne Simon has made it her mission to encourage more girls and women — especially those of color — to pursue STEM careers.

In addition to writing two books (“Abby Invents Unbreakable Crayons” and “Abby Invents The Foldibot), Simon is passionate about inspiring the next generation of innovators, including children who participate in NIHF’s education programs. In fact, in 2019, she visited a Camp Invention site in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and she recently wrote a letter to help inspire future inventors in our programs. Below is an excerpt:

“No one goes through life without failures, without self-doubt. I certainly have had my fair share of failures and that dreadful imposter syndrome. But what I know for sure is that science education infuses us with resilience and design thinking skills that help us transcend life’s failures. Experiments will fail, but you can start over at any time. You are not and never will be a failure.”


Help Support Innovative STEM Education Today

Each year, the generous support of both corporate partners and individual donors impacts more than 200,000 students, educators, entrepreneurs and aspiring inventors.

To help transform the children of today into the innovators of tomorrow, we invite you to make a tax-deductible donation today.

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