September 6, 2018
You have probably seen the news – The STEMIE Coalition and The Henry Ford have joined forces to move innovation education forward across the U.S. and around the world.
What you may not have heard is just how this came to be. STEMIE’s Director, Veronica Lynagh, tells the story:
Three years ago, while I was directing the Invention League (now STEMIE’s affiliate in Ohio), I got a call out of the blue from a gentleman named Danny Briere, from the Connecticut Invention Convention. He said he had an idea to bring together the disparate invention conventions across the country and to hold a national invention convention; I was passionate about the mission, so I heard him out.
I was also skeptical at first; the idea that we could bring invention education to every student everywhere seemed too ambitious and, indeed, impossible. I joined the team of other states on steering committee meetings and, after weeks and weeks of meetings, I began to believe the mission was possible if we worked together. Things steamrolled from there, and The STEMIE Coalition held our first NICEE in 2106 at the USPTO headquarters in Washington, DC. At that first NICEE, thirteen states were represented, and 202 students presented their solutions next to the Inventor Hall of Fame.
Around that same time, Danny attended an all-staff meeting at The Henry Ford and he came back blown away by the way they combined their expected mission (preserving the past history of innovation and ingenuity) with their perhaps unexpected mission (using that history to educate and inspire future innovation and ingenuity). They referred to it as taking the past forward.
We went on to hold our first Fall Affiliates Summit at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn Michigan two years ago. Last spring after we outgrew the space at the USPTO after NICEE 2017, we moved NICEE 2018 to The Henry Ford as well.
By NICEE 2018 we were already convinced that our mission and that of The Henry Ford were incredibly well aligned – and The Henry Ford felt the same way.
We’ve been working to bring our missions together in a more formal way, and today, as we launch our third annual Fall Affiliates Summit here in Dearborn, we are thrilled to jointly announce that we have come together as a single team, as a family of passionate, curious and authentic individuals who are committed to bringing the past forward so kids everywhere can be an inventor once, twice better!
Our affiliates, our partners and, most importantly, the schools and students we all jointly serve, will find that it’s business as usual. The most noticeable (and best!) change will be an exponential increase in the best of breed resources that STEMIE can bring to bear in our mission of supporting our affiliates. The Henry Ford has incredible resources in marketing, IT, development, event management, learning and engagement and more, and they’re all now available to further the success of STEMIE and Invention Education.
We came to our first Fall Affiliates Summit with 13 states, all from one country. Two years later we’re here with 31, from five countries. The internal STEMIE staff had not grown proportionally, but now, as a part of The Henry Ford, we have over 800 people at our affiliate’s disposal, each one of them laser-focused on supporting the mission.
As we begin Fall Summit today, we couldn’t be more thrilled about this coming together – a “marriage of missions” is how The Henry Ford’s President and CEO, Patricia Mooradian, describes it. We look forward to serving our affiliates and young inventors with even greater vigor in the years to come!
Veronica Lynagh is the Director of STEMIE at The Henry Ford