Alumnus Levi Maaia directs award-winning film “Pathways to Invention”

Monday, August 29, 2022
poster for Pathways to Invention

Alumnus Levi Maaia of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz School directed Pathways to Invention, the winner of the best documentary feature award at the August 2022 Los Angeles Independent Film Festival. Maaia also won the award for best director and co-won the award for best producer with Noah Mark.

For the past 26 years, the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize has been awarded to more than 100 graduate and undergraduate students from colleges and universities throughout the United States. Pathways to Invention tells the fascinating stories of how these inventions came to be, their social impacts, and why their creators took on these challenges.

The Lemelson-MIT program has become a national leader in efforts to prepare the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs. The Executive Director of the program is UCSB Gevirtz School alumna Dr. Stephanie Couch (Education, Ph.D., ’12). Its work focuses on the expansion of opportunities for young people to learn ways inventors find and solve problems that matter. The program is devoted to bringing invention education opportunities to all students, while prioritizing work with young women and Black, indigenous populations, Latinx and other people of color. Its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion aims to remedy historic inequities among those who develop inventions, protect their intellectual property and commercialize their creations.

Levi Maaia began his media career in FM radio, cable television, and broadband where he became fascinated by the potential for technology to educate and open a window on the world. He earned a Ph.D. studying Maker culture and STEM education from the Department of Education at UCSB (Ph.D.,’18).

Maaia produced A Beautiful Sound, a PBS/WSBE documentary on the Rhode Island Philharmonic. He directed and produced Pathways to Invention, a documentary feature funded by The Lemelson Foundation and hosted and produced “Intents & Purposes,” a weekly public affairs radio program on KCSB-FM focused on in-depth interviews with artists, researchers, and scientists. He is the recipient of a Cablefax Top Op award for his executive leadership.

He is a private, instrument-rated, land and seaplane pilot serving on the Santa Barbara Airport Commission, a licensed amateur radio operator, and an avid photographer. He is a founding member of the education committee for a NASA-sponsored outreach program aboard the International Space Station.