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Behind the NIHF Scenes

How Our Inductees and Collegiate Inventors Inspire NIHF Education Programs

Authentic Invention Education

At the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, part of what makes our PreK-12 education programs so special is that they are informed not only by the lessons and stories of some of the world’s most revolutionary inventors, our Inductees, but they also include appearances from promising undergraduate and graduate student inventors who participate in our Collegiate Inventors Competition® (CIC).

This authentic style of invention education draws inspiration from these lessons, and students who participate in our in-school, afterschool and summer programs are given the freedom and agency to discover and invent their own solutions to real-world problems.

Throughout our programs, participants are presented with video challenges, interviews and helpful tips from National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductees to help children identify their own innovative role models. This is important, as research has shown that children who are exposed to innovation at an early age are significantly more likely to innovate as they age.

Since 2013, our Inductees have participated in over 125 in-person and virtual visits to Camp Invention® sites across the country. Our deep collaboration with these innovators, which include in-depth interviews and collaborative sessions, also has allowed us to identify nine essential skills and traits that unlock creative potential. This I Can Invent® Mindset is embedded within all of our education programs, allowing participants to cultivate attributes and abilities that will benefit them throughout their lives.

Inspiration From Collegiate Inventors

Like our Inductees, CIC Finalists also play a crucial role in the development of National Inventors Hall of Fame education programs. Their inclusion in our programs inspires children who might also be interested in pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education at the collegiate level.

Especially for those who have been historically underrepresented in STEM fields, identifying with someone they find relatable helps children feel welcome and cultivates 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.

The author of two children’s 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 National Inventors Hall of Fame education programs. 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.”


Learn more about our education programs

To learn more about our education programs that deliver authentic invention education, visit our website or contact us today!

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