Fellows Selection Committee is comprised of 16 Members including: NAI Fellows, recipients of U.S. National Medals, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, members of the National Academies, National Science Foundation and senior officials from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Director of Operations and Prize Programs
Lemelson-MIT Program Director of Operations and Prize Programs
Betsy Boyle manages operations for the Lemelson-MIT Program, and previously oversaw the LMIT inventor prize programs. She has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management and higher education, and has managed programs focusing on green building and energy efficiency. Betsy received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.
Vice President for Research, University of Georgia
Harbor Lights Endowed Chair
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia
AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador
Karen J.L. Burg, Ph.D. was named Vice President for Research in 2021. She holds the Harbor Lights Chair in Small Animal Studies in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia (UGA). Prior to joining UGA, she served as vice president for research and professor of chemical engineering at Kansas State University. Honors to Karen include the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the inaugural Swiss AO Research Prize, recognition as an American Association for the Advancement of Science-Lemelson Invention Ambassador, an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, an American Council on Education Fellow, an American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellow, a Biomedical Engineering Society Fellow, an International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering Fellow, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology TR Young Innovator, a National Academy of Inventors Fellow, and a US Department of Defense Era of Hope Scholar. Karen is the inventor of record of eight issued patents, with licenses serving as the foundation for a thriving diagnostics company. Karen served as a member of the United States delegation for the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad, India and as alumna ambassador for the 2019 GES in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Director of Research Policy
Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU)
Cooke works with the senior research officers of the APLU Council on Research to develop understanding and strategy in response to federal government policies and regulations affecting research and innovation programs and to share information and best practices for the administration of university research operations. Previously, Dr. Cooke was selected as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow and worked at the National Science Foundation. He provided program analyses for the strategic visioning of the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), an NSF program designed to address the nation’s geographic diversity of R&D spending. Dr. Cooke’s academic experience includes researching the growth of massive, star-forming galaxies over cosmic time using images and spectra from ground- and space-based telescope facilities, such as the Hubble Space Telescope. He also has a passion for science communication, having worked in the U.S. Space and Rocket Center educating the public on the value of the space race and public investment in R&D. Dr. Cooke earned his Ph.D. in Astrophysical Sciences and Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Eastern Regional Outreach Director
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
As the Eastern Regional Outreach Director for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Elizabeth Dougherty carries out the strategic direction of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, and is responsible for leading the USPTO’s East Coast stakeholder engagement. Focusing on the region and actively engaging with the community, Ms. Dougherty ensures the USPTO’s initiatives and programs are tailored to the region’s unique ecosystem of industries and stakeholders.Ms. Dougherty has more than 25 years of experience working at the USPTO. She served as the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. In this role, she worked closely across the Agency’s leadership to implement the policies and priorities for the USPTO. She began her career at the USPTO as a patent examiner after graduating from The Catholic University of America with a bachelor’s degree in physics. While a patent examiner, Ms. Dougherty went on to obtain her J.D. from The Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America and served as a Senior Legal Advisor in the Office of Patent Legal Administration for a significant part of her career. Over the years, she has also served in the USPTO’s Office of Petitions, the Office of Innovation Development, and the Office of Government Affairs.
Ms. Dougherty has dedicated much of her career to the USPTO’s outreach and education programs focusing on small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs. In this effort she has developed, implemented, and supervised programs that support the independent inventor community, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and the intellectual property interests of colleges and universities. Similarly Ms. Dougherty has spearheaded a number of special projects with federal, state and local governments, and private organizations to promote and support invention and innovation in the United States.
Ms. Dougherty is a member of the Virginia Bar, the Giles S. Rich American Inn of Court, the Pauline Newman American Inn of Court, the American Bar Association, the Federal Circuit Bar Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Patent and Trademark Office Society, the Supervisory Patent Examiners and Classifiers Organization, Women in Science and Engineering, Federally Employed Women, and the Network of Executive Women.
Founder and Chief Executive
Louis Foreman is founder and Chief Executive of Enventys (www.enventys.com), an integrated product design and engineering firm. Louis graduated from The University of Illinois with a degree in Economics. Over the past 35 years Louis has created 10 successful start-ups and has been directly responsible for the creation of over 20 others. A prolific inventor, he is the inventor of 10 registered US Patents, and his firm is responsible for the development and filing of hundreds more. The recipient of numerous awards for entrepreneurial achievement, his passion for small business extends beyond his own companies. Louis is an Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Entrepreneurship Program at Wake Forest University. Louis is an adjunct professor and the Entrepreneur in Residence at The McColl School of Business and was the 2013 Distinguished Visiting Professor at Johnson & Wales University, where he continues to teach. He also teaches IP for Entrepreneurs at Central Michigan. He was recognized by the National Museum of Education for his Distinguished Contributions to Education. He is a frequent lecturer and radio / TV guest on the topics of small business creation and innovation.
In addition to being an inventor, Louis is also committed to inspiring others to be innovative. Louis was the creator of the Emmy® Award winning PBS TV show, Everyday Edisons, and served as the Executive Producer and lead judge. The show won 2 Emmys in 4 seasons and appeared nationally on PBS. In 2007, Louis became the publisher of Inventors Digest, a 35- year-old publication devoted to the topic of American Innovation. In 2009, his first book, The Independent Inventor’s Handbook, was published by Workman Publishing. In 2015, Louis was awarded the IP Champion Award by the US Chamber of Commerce. In June of 2022, Louis was inducted into the International IP Hall of Fame. He is a board member of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), The Federal Reserve Bank Industry Roundtable, Beyond Campus Innovations, Cryptyde, the Intellectual Property Owners Educational Foundation (IPOEF), and the advisory board of Park National Bank. In 2008, Louis was appointed by United States Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez to serve for a three-year term on the nine-person Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and was appointed to serve an additional three-year term. The Committee was created by Congress in 1999 to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office on matters relating to the policies, goals, performance, budget, and user fees of the patent operation. In 2013 he was asked to serve as Chairman of PPAC until the end of his term in December 2014. In 2011 Louis was called upon, multiple times, to brief the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on legislation related to the US Patent System and its impact on independent inventors. On September 16, 2011, Louis joined the President on-stage for the signing of the America Invents Act into law. This bi-partisan effort represented the most comprehensive overhaul to the US Patent System in over 60 years.
Commissioner for Patents
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
As Commissioner for Patents, Drew Hirshfeld manages and leads the patent organization as its chief operating officer. He is responsible for managing and directing all aspects of the organization which affect administration of patent operations, examination policy, patent quality management, international patent cooperation, resources and planning, and budget administration.
During his time as Commissioner, Mr. Hirshfeld has led the Patent business unit by emphasizing both transparency and collaboration. He has managed efforts to ensure the consistency and reliability of patent grants. Mr. Hirshfeld has further played a lead role to ensure that the examining corps is provided with updated examination guidance and training.
Prior to serving as Commissioner for Patents, Mr. Hirshfeld held the positions of Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy and Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. Mr. Hirshfeld began his career in 1994 as a Patent Examiner, he became a Supervisory Patent Examiner in 2001, and was promoted to the Senior Executive Service in 2008 as a Group Director in Technology Center 2100.
Mr. Hirshfeld received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Vermont, and a J.D. from Western New England College School of Law.
National Medal of Technology and Innovation Recipient
National Medal of Science Recipient
National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee
David H. Koch Institute Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Robert S. Langer is the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT (there are 13 Institute Professors at MIT; being an Institute Professor is the highest honor that can be awarded to a faculty member). He has written more than 1,400 articles. He also has over 1,300 issued and pending patents worldwide. His many awards include the United States National Medal of Science, the United States National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the Charles Stark Draper Prize (considered the engineering Nobel Prize), Albany Medical Center Prize (largest US medical prize), the Wolf Prize for Chemistry and the Lemelson-MIT prize, for being “one of history’s most prolific inventors in medicine.” Langer is one of the very few individuals ever elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Engineering ,the National Academy of Inventors and the National Academy of Sciences.
University Professor & Albert and Wilda Van Dusen
Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery
University of Connecticut
Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. is the University Professor and Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Connecticut. A surgeon-engineer-scientist, he is Professor of Chemical, Materials, and Biomedical Engineering at UConn. He serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering, at UConn Health. He earned his B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, his M.D., Magna Cum Laude, from the Harvard Medical School, and his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Laurencin has produced seminal research and technologies on nanotechnology and tissue regeneration, polymer/ceramic systems for bone regeneration, and biomaterials for soft tissue regeneration. Dr. Laurencin is a pioneer of the field of Regenerative Engineering. He received the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, and the National Science Foundation’s Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation Grant Award for this field. For his work he has received singular honors including the American Association for the Advancement of Science Philip Hauge Abelson Prize given ‘for signal contributions to the advancement of science in the United States’, the Simon Ramo Founder’s Award from the National Academy of Engineering and the Walsh McDermott Prize from the National Academy of Medicine. He is the first in history to win all three of these awards. Dr. Laurencin is a world leader in invention and innovation, and he is the recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, America’s highest award for technological achievement, award by President Barack Obama in ceremonies at the White House.
National Science Foundation
Crystal Leach joined the National Science Foundation as a Program Director in the Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (IUCRC) program in 2021. Crystal is an Associate Professor of Practice in the School of Chemical, Materials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Georgia, where she has served as the founding Director of Industry Collaborations since 2016, working with faculty and administration to build industry partnerships that align with UGA’s research capabilities and strategic priorities. Crystal has been a leader in expanding UGA’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem, serving as co-PI and business mentor for UGA’s NSF-funded Innovation Corps program. In 2019 she developed and successfully implemented the first Innovation Bootcamp for female faculty, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students at UGA. Previously, she spent 18 years in Research and Development at Kimberly-Clark, a Fortune 500 health and hygiene company, where she led engineering teams to develop 25+ medical products to market globally. Crystal earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s in biomedical engineering at The University of Akron, then her doctorate in textiles and polymer science at Clemson University. She is a member of the Society of Women Engineers and the Society for Biomaterials and has presented at numerous conferences. Her many accomplishments include: she holds four U.S. and European patents; was named one of The University of Akron’s Distinguished Engineering Alumni in 2005; and was elected as a Fellow to the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering in 2018.
Smithsonian Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation
Arthur P. Molella, Ph.D., was the founding director, now emeritus, of the Smithsonian Institution’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the National Museum of American History. He received his Ph.D. in the history of science from Cornell University and a Doctor of Science, honoris causa, from Westminster University, U.K (2005). At the National Museum of American History, he served variously as curator of electricity, chairman of the Department of History of Science and Technology, and assistant director for History. At Johns Hopkins University, he has served as Senior Lecturer, Dept. History of Science, and currently Lecturer M.A. in Museum Studies, On-Line, Advanced Academic Programs. He was head curator of the Smithsonian’s Science in American Life exhibition, co-curator of the international exhibition, Nobel Voices. He has published and lectured widely on the history of science, invention, technology, and modern technological culture. His most recent books include Places of Invention (Smithsonian, 2015), World’s Fairs on the Eve of War (Pittsburgh, 2015), World’s Fairs in the Cold War (Pittsburgh, 2019). In addition to serving on the Executive Advisory Board of the National Academy of Inventors, he is on the board of the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. He received the 2020 Leonardo da Vinci Medal of the Society for the History of Technology, the international society’s highest award.
Executive Vice President for Selection and Recognition
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Rini Paiva is the Executive Vice President for Selection and Recognition, National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF). In this role, she oversees the annual Inductee Selection process for the NIHF, working with a wide-ranging group of experts in science, technology, engineering, intellectual property, and history to ultimately recognize the world’s foremost patented inventors for their life-changing and innovative work. In addition, Paiva facilitates the Collegiate Inventors Competition (CIC), which brings recognition to the country’s outstanding college students who create the technologies that shape the future. Both the NIHF and the CIC are dedicated to recognizing and fostering invention, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Paiva also provides oversight for the NIHF Museum in Alexandria, Virginia, which features the life-changing Inductees of the NIHF and demonstrates the power of intellectual property and innovation. Also integral to her work is encouraging NIHF Inductees to be involved in the organization’s education programs, Camp Invention and Invention Project, so that they may serve as inspiration, encouragement, and examples to younger generations. With the National Inventors Hall of Fame since 1995, Paiva is an authority on the topic of U.S. invention.
Executive Director Innovation
University of Louisville
Immediate Past Chair, AUTM
Laura directs innovation development efforts for the University of Louisville. In this role, her team is responsible for technology identification & protection, commercialization, and partnership development. Laura has a diverse background as a research scientist, entrepreneur, and start-up advisor, and broad experience bringing inventions to market. Laura’s early career in medical research focused on vaccine trials, stem cell biology, transplant/oncology, and cellular assays. Her past roles include Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Prodesse, a company she co-founded, which makes molecular infectious disease diagnostic products (now as part of Hologic). Laura has served on the board for the Alliance of Technology Transfer Professionals (ATTP) which confers the Registered Technology Transfer Professional credential for the profession. She is completing her service as the immediate past Chair of AUTM, the leading association for technology transfer.
Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Phillip Singerman is the Senior Advisor on Technology Transfer and Commercialization to the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation and Elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. From 2011-2020 he served as the Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In this capacity he was responsible for the NIST suite of external partnership programs, including the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, the Office of Advanced Manufacturing, NIST technology transfer, economic analysis, and small business innovation research awards.
Singerman has more than 40 years of experience in tech based economic development; he was the first chief executive of two of the best known and longest lasting private-public partnerships; the Ben Franklin Technology Center of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation. During the Clinton Administration he served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, a Presidential appointment requiring Senate confirmation.
Science Policy and Communications Analyst
National Science Foundation
Denise Zannino, Ph.D. is a Science Policy and Communications Analyst at the National Science Foundation in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs. In this capacity she is responsible for internal communications and strategic visioning, project management for special events such as press conferences and symposiums, and general science outreach and communications projects. Prior to this role Denise was a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the same office.
Denise earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Vanderbilt University, and a BS in biology and psychology from James Madison University. She is passionate about utilizing her scientific background and experience in biomedical research to communicate science to a varied range of audiences including the public, media, and other scientists, and to promote scientific programs, outreach, and awareness.