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About the AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassadors Program

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.





To showcase the human face of inventors in order to inspire, inform and influence thought leaders and global communities.


  • Celebrate and highlight the importance of invention and inventors.
  • Increase societies’ understanding of the critical role of invention in improving our quality of life.
  • Get more people excited about supporting or becoming inventors.
  • Help cultivate a new and diverse generation of inventors.
  • Increase global understanding of the role of invention, inventors and invention education and the need for a robust invention ecosystem in building economies and fostering innovation.
  • Heighten awareness of invention’s vital role in addressing the global challenges of our time.
  • Celebrate inventors who insist on improving and sustaining our earth’s environment.

To best meet the goals and objectives of the program, AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassadors concentrate their efforts on:
1. Influencing and informing public policy, including but not limited to federal and university policies
2. Highlighting the importance of and necessary ingredients for creating/inspiring talent.

These are accomplished through :
1. Events, such as conferences, workshops, Ambassadors talks, virtual showcases and webinars
2. Products, such as articles and videos

The inaugural class of Invention Ambassadors were announced in June 2014:
Karen Burg, University of Georgia
Rory Cooper, University of Pittsburgh
Sorin Grama, Promethean Power Systems
Paul Sanberg, University of South Florida
Steve Sasson, Kodak (retired)
Paul Stamets, Fungi Perfecti
Vinod Veedu, Oceanit Laboratories

The 2015-2016 Invention Ambassadors were announced in June 2015:
Lisa Secat DeLuca, IBM
Juan Gilbert, University of Florida
Jay Harman, PAX Scientific
Andrew Hessel, Autodesk
Suzie Pun, University of Washington
Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Rice University
Michael Smith, Intel

The 2016-2017 Invention Ambassadors were announced on June 1, 2016
Aaron Baughman, IBM
Bertrand Cambou, Northern Arizona University
Eric Fossum, Dartmouth
Rick Hamilton, IBM
Ayanna Howard, Georgia Tech University and Zyrobotics
Benjamin Hsiao, Stony Brook University
Anthony Mulligan, Hydronalix, Inc.
Maria Oden, Rice University
Louie Schwartzberg, Moving Art
John Warner, Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, LLC

The 2017-2018 Invention Ambassadors were announced on June 1, 2017
Luis Almodovar, Ergosuture Corp.; HIMA San Pablo Hospital; University of Puerto Rico's Comprehensive Cancer Center
Elaine Chen, ConceptSpring; MIT Sloan School of Management
Huda Elasaad and Diana Yousef, change:Water Labs, Inc.
Ellie Fini, North Carolina A&T University
Sanna Gaspard, Rubitection, Inc.
Jason Kang, Kinnos, Inc.
Michele Ostraat, Aramco Research Center

The current class of Invention Ambassadors, the 2018-2019 cohort were announced on June 1, 2018
Tyrone Grandison, Data-Driven Institute
Jason Grieves, Microsoft
Stephen Key, inventRight
Mary Kombolias, US Government Publishing Office
Florence Lu, IBM
Don McPherson, EnChroma
Pratik Shah, MIT Media Lab
Rachel Walker, University of Massachusetts-Amherst College of Nursing

Invention Ambassadors speaking engagements have been held at the following venues:

  • AAAS Annual Meeting 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • AAAS, Celebrate Invention 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Columbia Heights Education Campus
  • Congressional Panel on the America COMPETES Act
  • IBM Almaden Research Center
  • IBM Global Academy of Technology 2016, 2017
  • InventOR
  • Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
  • Morgan State University
  • National Academy of Inventors Annual Conference 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • National Academies of Science
  • National Institutes of Standards and Technology
  • Small Business Administration
  • Smithsonian Innovation Festival
  • SBIR/STTR National Conference 2015, 2016, 2017
  • Thomas Edison National Historical Park 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • University of Florida
  • US Patent and Trademark Office
  • VentureWell OPEN 2015 Conference


AAAS/Lemelson Staff - click here to learn more

  • Michael Feder - Director, AAAS Center for Advancing Science & Engineering Capacity
  • Neela White - Senior Program Associate, AAAS Center for Advancing Science & Engineering Capacity
  • Ysabel Woody - Senior Program Associate, AAAS Center for Advancing Science & Engineering Capacity
  • Pam Kahl - Program Officer, The Lemelson Foundation

AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador Selection Committee

  • Richard Chan, Decix Technologies
  • Michael Cheetham, NIH Fogarty International Center
  • Elizabeth Dougherty, United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • Micahel Feder, AAAS
  • Pam Kahl, The Lemelson Foundation
  • Magdalena Navarro, National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • G. Nagesh Rao, Small Business Administration
  • Dione Rossiter, Independent Consultant
  • Neela White, AAAS
  • Ysabel Woody, AAAS
  • Rieko Yajima, Stanford University Design School