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Letter from the Editor

A New Issue of Invention & Technology

Winter 2020 | Volume 26 |  Issue 1

We are so pleased to be able to once again produce an issue of Invention & Technology, especially one chronicling the lives of 50 women inventors.

We wish to thank the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Charles Koch Institute for providing funds to make this issue – and our new website – possible. Sloan has been doing important work to increase diversity in STEM fields and encouraging high-achieving individuals from underrepresented groups to strengthen our workforce. The Koch Institute provides funds through its innovative Media and Journalism Fellowship Program to support quality journalism and media education.

We also want to thank the nearly 700 individuals who generously donated funds over the last couple of years to keep Invention & Technology alive.

It is vitally important to save I&T, with its mission and legacy as the only popular magazine in the U.S. covering the history of innovation and engineering. “Our subject matter is actually nothing less than the making of the world we live in, and the stories of all the extraordinary people who made it,” wrote Frederick Allen, our Founding Editor, in 1985. The three decades of writing in the archives of this unique publication are a remarkable achievement. 

We thank the distinguished President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, for taking time to write an eloquent introduction to this special issue about women innovators (page 4). She notes that “young women of today must be made aware that people much like them, though frequently overlooked and underappreciated, have been contributing to scientific and technological discovery and advancement for a long time.” 

Sylvia Acevedo provides a compelling example of the importance of early STEM experiences in her own life story (page 7). On a camping trip as a girl she learned how fascinating the stars could be, and went on to become a NASA astrophysicist and now the President of the Girl Scouts of the USA. “This was at a time that girls like me — Hispanic and living near the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder — weren’t encouraged to study science,” she writes. It is so wonderful that Ms. Acevedo now has the chance to influence so many young lives for the better.

The accomplishments of the 50 pioneering women in this issue remind us once again how important it is to tell the stories of innovation like these to inspire the next generation.

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

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