USPTO and National Science and Technology Medals Foundation

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) partners with the nonprofit National Science and Technology Medals Foundation (Foundation) to honor the Laureates of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation (NMTI) and National Medal of Science (NMS) and build inclusive science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) communities nationwide.

NMTI laureates Joseph DeSimone, Cato Laurencin, and Mark Humayun after the White House medal ceremony.
NMTI Laureates Joseph DeSimone, Cato Laurencin, and Mark Humayun at the 2016 White House awards ceremony.

The Foundation was started in 1990 by Dr. George B. Rathmann, founder and CEO of Amgen, Inc., to honor the NMTI and NMS Laureates. The Foundation partners with the Office of the President of the United States to celebrate the Laureates when they are announced by the White House.

The mission of the Foundation evolved to also organize events and programs that build and champion inclusive STEM communities nationwide. The Foundation seeks to foster connections between those who have received national recognition for excellence in STEM and today’s diverse generation of college and high school students. It works to build a STEM ecosystem that supports all who wish to participate and envisions a world where the diversity of the American society is reflected in the recipients of all prestigious STEM honors, including future NMS and NMTI Laureates.


inSTEM is a multi-year mentorship program for undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in STEM run by the Foundation in partnership with the USPTO. Students develop skills that will make them successful while in school and after graduation. This community-building program seeks to strengthen undergraduate students majoring in STEM and lasts during their entire undergraduate experience. Programs are available at Howard University and the University of Texas at Arlington, with other campuses pending.

"I appreciate how my mentor is able to personally connect with me on any issue whether that be academically or personal, and how we relate on many experiences. This relationship really helps me navigate through college, and not lose sight of what's important."

inSTEM mentee at Howard University

inSTEM mentors are influential and inspirational individuals who are known advocates for students from underrepresented communities and themselves are members of underrepresented groups. As part of the partnership with the USPTO, there are experts from the USPTO who participate as inSTEM mentors and share their knowledge about innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship with the mentees.

Anyone can access an online library of advice from the inSTEM mentors via inSTEM Virtual.

Events: Innovation Unscripted and STEM Spotlight

Shirley Ann Jackson on stage with Dr. Bruce Jones
The Foundation hosted "An Evening With Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson" at Howard University.

The Foundation organizes events that feature diverse voices in STEM with the goal of inspiring undergraduate and graduate students in STEM. Candid conversations with celebrated leaders in science and technology from all fields and backgrounds provide an opportunity for students to hear advice about career paths, persistence, creativity, and innovation.

A calendar of events can be found on the Foundation's events page.