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Life sciences/Organismal biology/Mycology/Fungi

In 2014 AAAS, in partnership with the Lemelson Foundation, launched the AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassadors Program designed to celebrate and highlight the importance of invention and inventors. The program is designed to showcase the modern faces of invention that are addressing the grand challenges confronting humanity. The Invention Ambassadors are deployed to address key audiences across the country to inspire and encourage a new and diverse generation of inventors, increase global understanding of the role of invention in creating new products and building new businesses, illustrate the importance of inventors and invention education in building economies and fostering innovation, and celebrate inventors who work to address issues of environmental sustainability and social good.

The program has recognized 40 inventors holding over 1,800 patents as Invention Ambassadors over the past 5 years. AAAS provides the Ambassadors with support, training, and the platform required to speak passionately about the importance of invention, the invention ecosystem, and the future of invention. The Invention Ambassadors annually address a diverse audience of students, education leaders, STEM professionals, policy makers, and other key stakeholders.

Karen Lips is well-aware of the importance of strategic science communication in affecting environmental policy. In November 2014, she and her colleague Joseph Mendelson published an op-ed in the New York Times warning of a pathogenic fungus spreading among European salamanders that could decimate salamander populations in the United States. She and Mendelson urged prompt government action. Within a year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued an interim rule that shut down importation of 201 salamander species to the U.S. “Getting to the New York Times was key,” she says, in making this a higher policy priority.