Summer 2022 Winner of FOUR Awards at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival

Check out the preview and stay tuned for the dates of the Premiere!
We are excited to share the news that our documentary, Pathways to Invention, won numerous awards at the prestigious Los Angeles Independent Film Festival:
• Best Documentary Feature
• Best Original Music Score
• Best Producer
• Best Director-Documentary Feature
It is an honor to have this incredible third party recognition. We’d like to thank members of The Lemelson Foundation and the LMIT team who pulled the historical content together, helped to select the participants, and worked with the producers. We’d also like to thank Maiia Mark productions for their vision, patience and persistence in creating a film that not only showcases the impact of our Student Prize program, but highlights the importance of creating the “pathway” for our young inventors.


The Lemelson-MIT Student Prize was first awarded in 1995 as an annual prize that honored MIT graduate student inventors. In 2014 it was expanded to a national prize that recognized undergraduate teams and graduate students who had invented technology-based solutions in prize categories that represent significant sectors of the global economy: Cure it! – Healthcare, Eat it! – Food/Water or Agriculture, Move it! – Transportation or Mobility, and Use it! – Consumer Devices or Products. In each of the four categories, winning graduate students received $15k and undergraduate teams received $10k. The wide-reaching recognition that collegiate students have received from winning the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize has provided new opportunities and support for their work as inventors.

While we are no longer offering the Student Prize, the impact past winners have had on the world with their inventions is immeasurable. We applaud their work, and will be celebrating all winners as part of a Student Prize retrospective that will include written materials, short videos, and a documentary film, Pathways to Invention, featuring a few of the winners along with their invention journeys. Check out this preview of the film. 

2021 Winners

Harvard University graduate student Nicole Black in the lab, in front of a computer monitor that is displaying a picture of her invention being 3D printed. She also holds her small, biodegradable eardrum graft invention in tweezers.
Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

Nicole Black

Nicole invented PhonoGraft, a new material and procedure to repair eardrums after damage due to infection or trauma such as blast injury.
Stanford University graduate student Mira Moufarrej in the lab
Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

Mira Moufarrej

Mira invented early screening tests that may change the standard of practice for prenatal care by predicting preeclampsia, preterm birth, and due date earlier and more accurately.
MIT graduate student Hilary Johnson, holding her variable volute pump
Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

Hilary Johnson

Hilary invented an adaptive centrifugal pump that expands or contracts the volute in response to variable flow rates for better energy efficiency.
Paige Balcom of University of California, Berkeley with a wall tile made from her machines that convert PET plastic into useable, salable items.
Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

Paige Balcom

Paige invented locally-made, manually-powered recycling machines to transform PET plastic waste into desirable household products in Uganda.


"One of the biggest barriers in STEM is the gender gap and women feel shy – society has put them down so much – and don’t speak out. I just want to give girls encouragement and tell them not to be afraid."

Kayla Nguyen
2017 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize winner