National Summer Teacher Institute: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Who may apply?

Elementary school, middle school, or high school teachers who meet all of the criteria below:

  • At least three years of prior teaching in one or more of the following STEM or STEM-related areas:
    • biological sciences, physical sciences, computational sciences, technology, engineering, or mathematics;
    • vocational and technical education courses such as mechanics, woodworking, welding, or rapid prototyping; graphic design; industrial design; computer-aided design; design thinking; invention education; creative thinking; visualization, intellectual property; or entrepreneurship.
  • A commitment in school year 2024-2025 to teach in one or more of the STEM or STEM-related areas referenced above.
  • A strong commitment to making, inventing, innovating, and exploring intellectual property and entrepreneurship with students.
  • Approval from principal or school administrator.

Can I apply this year if I attended NSTI in metaverse in 2021 or 2022?

Yes, however, past participation in NSTI does not guarantee future acceptance. Each person is evaluated on an individual basis with blind scoring. We strive to provide opportunities to as many educators as possible to attend the program.

When is the deadline for submitting the application?

The deadline to submit the application for NSTI 2024 is Friday, March 31, 2024.

When will NSTI be held?

NSTI 2024 will be held July 21-26, 2024.

Where will NSTI be held?

NSTI 2024 will be held at the USPTO Headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

Will everyone who applies be accepted to participate in the program?

No, Space is limited and each applicant is evaluated on an individual basis with blind scoring. We strive to provide opportunities to a broad range of educators.

What is the USPTO’s goal in the selection process?

Our goal is to provide opportunities for educators to explore the concepts of intellectual property creation, development, and protection as it relates to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, art, design, invention, and innovation. Factors  considered may include subject areas taught, involvement in student mentoring, size of school district and school type (private or public, rural or urban), and socioeconomic backgrounds of student populations and communities. Teachers from all schools and communities are encouraged to apply.  

When and how will applicants be notified of their selection?

Applicants will receive an email from the USPTO's education team in the Office of Public Engagement on a rolling basis beginning on or about May 1, 2024. Selected applicants will have one week to accept the invitation to attend NSTI 2024 and will be required to respond via email.

If I am selected to participate in NSTI, when do I have to notify the USPTO of my acceptance?

Selected applicants will have one week after receiving notification from the USPTO to accept the invitation to attend NSTI 2024.

Do I have to attend all of the sessions planned for NSTI?

Yes. Only teachers that can fully participate for the entire duration of NSTI 2024 (July 21-26, 2024) will be accepted.

What are the primary objectives of NSTI?

  • Cultivate a network of teacher leaders empowered to foster invention and intellectual property knowledge and application for their students.
  • Increase teachers’ knowledge about the significance of teaching intellectual property and innovation as it relates to STEM, art, design, and entrepreneurship.
  • Encourage more  students to pursue STEM fields and careers, including innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Introduce novel educational resources, tools, and instructional strategies to encourage student learning and achievement in STEM, innovation, and intellectual property.
  • Showcase the  contributions of inventors and entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds impacted the world through their innovations.  

What does NSTI cover?

  • Sessions at NSTI cover a broad range of topics in intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets), STEM education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
  • The materials and resources support teachers' incorporation of making, inventing, and intellectual property creation and protection into STEM lesson plans.
  • Teachers learn how to inspire and motivate young innovators and entrepreneurs.

Who conducts NSTI sessions?

Sessions are conducted by USPTO experts in intellectual property, and subject matter experts in STEM education, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

What can I expect to learn by participating in NSTI?

  • How to apply the principles of intellectual property and innovation to help motivate and re-engage students in authentic project-based and problem-based learning.
  • How innovators invent and improve upon existing inventions, while applying the creative design and engineering processes.
  • How to incorporate the USPTO's educational materials and resources designed to encourage student learning and achievement in STEM.  
  • How to engage with and become a part of a national network of educators who are at the forefront of integrating intellectual property, innovation, and STEM into K-12 learning environments.

Is there any cost involved for teachers?

If selected, the flight and lodging are covered for the duration of the program for teachers residing more than 50 miles from the NSTI venue in Alexandria, VA. The teachers who reside less than 50 miles from the NSTI venue will receive all the benefits of the program except travel and lodging support. Federal travel rules apply.

Do teachers receive a stipend for attending?


Can teachers receive continuing education credits for attending?

The USPTO provides a certificate of completion at the end of NSTI to document 50 contact hours of professional development.