Joyce Ward

Director of the Students and Learners Division in the Office of Public Engagement

“The sky is the limit! You have the ability to shape your own destiny.” 

Hearing the squeals of laughter and awe in a child’s voice when they see a sketch of their invention transformed into a 3D printed object never gets old for Joyce.

She builds the kinds of programs that capture the imaginations of future leaders in STEM one mind at a time.
“My job at the USPTO enables me to instill the idea of entrepreneurship and innovation in others, and help students recognize the tremendous potential they have to affect change.” 

Joyce, the Director of the Students and Learners Division in the Office of Public Engagement, and her team travel throughout the country to develop and implement programming that increases knowledge and awareness of intellectual property among future innovators and the people who educate them. 

Her main goal: to help students learn how to tap into their inherent sparks of genius and creativity, and turn those ideas into reality.

“Ideas are powerful, and they have the ability to change conversations, communities, industry, and the world,” 
she says.

Joyce’s passion to motivate students to understand how STEM fields have real-world applications has transformed education and outreach for the agency. 

As a former USPTO trademark examining attorney in the early 1990s, Joyce returned to the agency when she was selected to lead a new office dedicated to exposing children and young adults to STEM and IP, especially those students who might not otherwise have had access to such programming. 

Her advice to young students in STEM?

“Know that what you do has an impact, and it has value!” she says. “Your basic STEM knowledge — problem solving and understanding how things work — is so valuable in all aspects of life. Whether you pursue a career in STEM or not, use it to make a difference.”