Relatable STEM Role Models Promote a Promising Future

Your National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Annual Fund gifts support the development of each year’s brand-new Camp Invention® curriculum, filled with stories and lessons from some of the world’s most influential inventors, NIHF Inductees. Thanks to your support, children who attend Camp Invention are introduced to diverse STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) role models who show participants what they too can achieve.

Among the role models children find at camp are those who continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields. By promoting exposure to diverse STEM leaders, your gift can help to close gaps in representation for a more equitable and innovative future. Just one example of your support in action can be found at Holcomb Elementary School in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Here, children enjoyed the opportunity to meet biomedical engineer, patented inventor and author Arlyne Simon.


Guiding Children to Recognize Their Potential

Simon’s connection to NIHF began in 2013, when she competed as a Finalist in the Collegiate Inventors Competition®. Since that time, she has become a successful entrepreneur who is a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) advocate committed to creating next-generation technologies that transform medicine.

On June 20, 2019, Simon paid a special visit to Holcomb Elementary School’s Camp Invention program, where she gifted a signed copy of her book “Abby Invents Unbreakable Crayons” to all children in attendance. Featuring a young girl named Abby who decides to invent the world’s first unbreakable crayons, this empowering story playfully introduces young readers to STEM concepts in an accessible and fun way.

This inspiring visit was a part of NIHF’s “Power to Invent” campaign, which was designed to help close the STEM gender gap by encouraging more girls to explore STEM fields at Camp Invention. Avery Marshall, 6, was chosen as the Power to Invent campaign’s sweepstakes winner, and part of the prize was an in-person camp visit from Simon. Marshall and her fellow campers had the opportunity to meet and talk with Simon, hearing firsthand about her life and journey as an inventor. Known for her encouraging personality, Simon challenged each camper to embrace their creativity and invent the type of world they want to see.

In a letter to future inventors featured on NIHF’s blog, Simon promoted a similar message:

You were born to be an inventor. Yes, you. If we are going to create a kinder world, a healthier world, a more sustainable world, then you need to share your creativity. Chances are no one has told you that you can become an inventor. Chances are you have yet to meet an inventor who looks like you. Chances are you have never stepped foot into a research lab. Chances are you do not think you are smart enough. Even if those things are true, guess what. Today is a new day — a day with new truths — the day you learn that you are on your path to invent great things!

Messages like this one are essential to building children’s self-confidence and helping them pursue their dreams and passions. Research supports this, and shows that children who are exposed to innovators at a young age are more likely to innovate as they grow up. It’s for this reason that NIHF’s education team makes it a priority to incorporate a diverse array of NIHF Inductees into the daily games and activities children explore at every Camp Invention location nationwide.

In addition to Simon’s visit, since 2013, Camp Invention sites across the country have hosted over 100 visits from our NIHF Inductees.


Help Inspire More Children to Pursue a Life of Innovation

NIHF counts on the Annual Fund to provide the Camp Invention experience to as many children as possible, so we can continue to increase exposure to relatable inventors at a young age. Your gift reaches across communities and directly supports the mission to help transform today’s students into future innovators.

When you give today, you can change tomorrow.