The role of a staff member at MIT is often to be the machine that makes the newsworthy work possible. The coordinator of the IDEAS competition plays just such a role. IDEAS teams have served thousands of people worldwide with the inventions they developed in the program, and participants have gone on to win other innovation prizes and accrue funding in the millions for their inventive community work. Meanwhile, the coordinator has been able to double the size of the program and guide the teams through the two-year process with the funding she raises herself and the help of one part-time assistant. The time she spends managing IDEAS is almost entirely her own, since she runs the fellowships program, as well.
She recruits and trains program volunteers, reviews proposals, organizes IAP panels, enlists speakers and judges, and plans all the events associated with the IDEAS competition. But the intangible impact of her effort is gratitude from award winners who say that the real benefit to their futures as inventors was the support and encouragement they received during the process. Alison Hynd, congratulations on your Innovative Solutions.