Alumna Stephanie Couch of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School has been appointed the Executive Director of the Lemelson-MIT Program. Couch brings 16 years of experience in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education policy, research, development and deployment and strategic fundraising. In her new role, she will oversee the development and growth of partnerships and guide Lemelson-MIT’s prestigious invention award and grant programs.
Couch received a Ph.D. from the Gevirtz School’s Department of Education in 2011. Moving on to Lemelson-MIT she will be leaving her dual position as both the Director of the Gateways East Bay STEM Network and the Director of CSU East Bay’s Institute for STEM Education. Prior to her appointment with the Gateways East Bay STEM Network and the Institute, Couch helped to conceptualize, design, and launch the statewide California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet). CSLNet is a non-profit working to build a network of educators, business leaders, and other stakeholders committed to establishing the world’s best STEM education system so that all California students will graduate from high school with the STEM knowledge and skills required for success in postsecondary education, work and their daily lives, and that more students pursue STEM careers and degrees.
Earlier this spring Couch was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame and was also selected as one of San Francisco Business Times’ Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business for 2016.
The Lemelson-MIT Program celebrates outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention. The program administers the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize awarded annually to an outstanding mid-career inventor, and the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, which honors promising collegiate inventors across the country. The program’s invention education initiatives include InvenTeams, a national grants initiative for high school students, educators and mentors to invent technological solutions to real-world problems, and JV InvenTeams, a program for students in grades 7-10 to hone their hands-on skills and enrich their STEM education through invention-based design activities.