Black History Month celebration: Three contemporary Black women inventors

Access a recording of this special event spotlighting three contemporary Black women inventors: Aprille Ericsson, Ayanna Howard, and Arlyne Simon.

Hear the panelists’ firsthand accounts of their amazing career paths and game-changing inventions:

Dr. Aprille Ericsson was the first woman (and the first African American woman) to receive a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Howard University and the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in engineering as a civil servant at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. As New Business Lead for the NASA GSFC Instrument Systems and Technology Division, she seeks to foster government partnerships that enable industry and small businesses to collaborate with universities to solve strategic R&D challenges faced by United States government agencies. She holds one patent.

Dr. Ayanna Howard is the founder and Chief Technology Officer of Zyrobotics, a company that uses machine learning and robots to make educational toys for kids, with a particular emphasis on helping those with special needs. In addition, Howard is a professor at Georgia Tech, specializing in the intersection of machine learning and robotics. She holds three patents.

Dr. Arlyne Simon is a biomedical engineer at Intel’s Health and Life Science business unit and the author of the Abby Invents picture book series. Eager to inspire more girls to become inventors, Simon founded a multicultural children’s products company called Timouns. To date, Timouns has reached more than 3,500 future inventors. She holds two patents.

For more information, or to ask questions about the program, email