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Leaders in Innovation

Introducing Nicole Black: A STEM Role Model

At the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), we want to encourage all kids to think creatively, grow their confidence and believe that they can be innovators — especially on important days like the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! To do this, it’s essential to give children access to diverse and relatable role models in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Nicole Black is one of these inspiring role models. She is a determined innovator who was once a camper at Camp Invention® and later went on to be a 2018 Graduate Winner in the Collegiate Inventors Competition® (CIC)! Through her achievements as an engineer and an inventor, she is an inspiration to young innovators and future inventors alike.


Creating at Camp

During her elementary school years, when Black attended Camp Invention, she became an innovative problem solver by designing cool contraptions like a device to contain and safely transport bugs. In an interview with NIHF, Black said, “I was a little kid when I did this about 7 and I was thinking ‘what problems do I want to solve?’” She credits her experience at camp as part of the reason she began on her path into invention and engineering.

Following her impactful experience as a camper, Black chose to stay with Camp Invention by becoming a Leadership Intern (LI). As an LI, Black said she was able to “inspire children of all different backgrounds, races and genders to know that you can be an inventor too.” Through this volunteer opportunity, she helped lead campers through their own early innovation journey and encouraged them to embrace their creativity and drive to innovate.


Competing at CIC

At Harvard University, Black studied engineering with hopes of using STEM to continue solving problems. There, Black and co-inventor Michael J. Kreder created PionEar, a device designed to combat issues associated with chronic ear infections using novel 3D-printed designs and new materials.

In 2018, they competed in CIC, which invites the top student inventors from across the country to take their inventions to the next level by presenting their work to an impressive panel of Judges made up of NIHF Inductees and United States Patent and Trademark Office officials. Black and Kreder presented the PionEar and were selected as the Graduate Winners.


Encouraging the Next Generation

Through her experiences and accomplishments, Black has certainly earned the title of STEM role model! In a letter that she wrote to future inventors attending Camp Invention this year, she highlights the impact Camp Invention and CIC had on her. She also shares the idea that anyone is ready to become an inventor if they are identifying problems and coming up with potential ways to solve them. Black shows us that exploring new ideas can lead to monumental results that make a positive impact on others.

At our all-new 2022 Camp Invention Explore program, children can become confident, capable inventors, learn lessons from impactful STEM role models and, perhaps, one day grow to be one themselves.


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To discover more inspiring, innovative role models, we invite you to visit our blog.

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