AANHPI Heritage Month: An Interview with Evangelyn Alocilja, SMNAI

A graphic shows headshot of Evangelyn Alocilja, SMNAI, with the text “#AANHPIHeritage Month NAI celebrates Evangelyn Alocilja, SMNAI” followed by “Professor, Michigan State University”.As we celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, read as Evangelyn Alocilja, SMNAI, Professor at NAI Member Institution Michigan State University, shares with us what inspires her to be an inventor, her advice for other innovators, and the importance of engaging the next generation of inventors.

Q: What words would you use to describe yourself?
A: Visionary, mission-driven, goal-oriented, problem-solver, team player, win-win strategies, people first, compassionate, encourager, mentor, there’s tomorrow.

Q: What inspired you, and continues to inspire you, to be an inventor?
A: My passion is to help people who need help the most but can afford the least.

Q: Why are you passionate about being an innovator?
A: I enjoy exploring the unknown, discovering what God has already created, and using my discoveries to help advance society’s needs.

An image of a blooming garden.Q: In your spare time, in addition to working in your field, what do you love to do?
A: In my spare time, I love hanging out with my family, flower gardening, feeding birds and fish, baking, and beautifying our yard.

Q: What advice do you have for innovators looking to take their innovations from bench to market?
1. Be sure to know the needs of the users or customers first and design your innovation to address them.
2. Have a clear vision of the technology’s usefulness (begin with the end in mind).
3. Stay focused; do not allow critiques and failures to distract you.

Q: What do you feel is the importance of engaging next-generation inventors in the innovation space?
A: It is essential to engage the next-generation inventors in STEM; they will define the future of medicine, food, agriculture, environment, sustainability, and human-to-human interfaces and human-system interfaces.

To read more about Dr. Alocilja and her work, visit: https://www.egr.msu.edu/alocilja/