ASU joins National Academy of Inventors

May 5, 2013

Arizona State University is helping faculty and student innovators bring their ideas into the marketplace through the membership in the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). As a Charter Member Institution, ASU joins more than 75 other U.S. universities and nonprofit research institutions such as California Institute of Technology, Purdue University and Texas A&M University. The NAI also includes three international affiliates and more than 2,000 individual academic inventor members.

Founded in 2010, the NAI is a growing nonprofit organization that seeks to recognize and encourage inventors who have one or more patents issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. ASU’s participation allows university-affiliated inventors to join as individual members. The NAI supports members in development and commercialization of academic patents and inventions, and disclosure of intellectual property. Flexible Electronics and Display Center Download Full Image

Among its many activities, the academy hosts an annual conference and publishes the journal Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors. Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president for ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, will serve on the journal’s editorial board.

“We are delighted to be a part of this academy,” said Panchanathan. “The inventions across the university have exceptional potential impact and we look forward to promoting these efforts with NAI and through their network.”

This membership will provide ASU with greater capacity to honor the inventors and innovators whose creative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit contribute to the development and commercialization of academic inventions.

ASU will participate in a number of NAI events, meetings and activities to recognize the innovative work happening throughout the university.

For more information on the National Academy of Inventors, visit

Honors student earns Outstanding Graduate for Research award

May 6, 2013

At about the age of five, Madeline Sands attended a lecture at the Phoenix Public Library that would put her on a path toward academic endeavors and research fitting of any professional.

The lecturer was Donald Johanson, founding director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. Johanson spoke about his archaeological work, including the 1974 discovery of the Lucy fossil in northeastern Ethiopia. At the time of its discovery, Lucy was the oldest and most complete skeleton of an adult human ancestor. Download Full Image

“I was fascinated by the finding of Lucy and inspired by Dr. Johanson. The process of going out into the field to answer the question of who we are and where we came from resonated with me. I never forgot his presentation and at a young age I started to look at the world as being a place of discovery. I could go out and seek to answer my own questions – this was my first introduction to research,” she said.

Sands drew upon that inspiration early and as an International Baccalaureate student at North High School in Phoenix, she engaged in her own physical anthropology research and wrote a paper on the scavenging habits of hominid Paranthropus boisei.

That interest in research followed her as she applied to Ivy League universities, ASU and the University of Arizona.

“I decided to come to ASU specifically for Barrett, the Honors College, and for the multiple research opportunities,” she said. 

As she began her university experience as an honors student at ASU, Sands knew she wanted to be a doctor. Her interest in anthropology complemented a shift in focus towards medicine and public health research. She combined these interests and will graduate with a 4.0 GPA and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, with a focus in pre-medicine and a minor in global health.  

For her high academic achievement, her notable research, and her service, Sands has been given the Outstanding Graduate Award for Research from Barrett, The Honors College at ASU and will be acknowledged at the college’s convocation on May 8.

Throughout her rigorous academic career, Sands was immersed in archaeological field work, public health research, and community service as well.

She was on a team that excavated a Middle Pleistocene hyena den in South Africa, researched indigenous health care reform and interventions in Guatemala, worked on a team alongside fellow ASU engineers on a bio sensor that detects contaminated water, was a founding member of the Institute of Biological Engineering ASU chapter, co-authored many scientific articles and papers, tutored at the ASU Disability Resource Center, mentored middle school and high school, advised university students interested in healthcare professions, interned at the Mayo Clinic, and worked as a patient ambassador at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. She was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship and a runner-up for the Marshall Scholarship, both in 2012.

Additionally, she developed an independent research project on how legal training influences people’s moral judgments that received a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates grant.

Her community service activities included leading fundraising efforts for school supplies and clothing donations for schools in underserved communities in Arizona and Guatemala.

“I am extremely honored and quite humbled to receive the award from Barrett," she said. "This award does not reflect my own efforts but rather showcases the exciting opportunities ASU has to offer, the wonderful guidance provided by the faculty, and the support of my fellow peers.” 

Daniel Hrushka, ASU assistant professor of anthropology, who served as Sand’s professor, academic mentor and co-author, sings her praises.

“In her intellectual life, Maddie balances a drive for individual excellence with a deep capacity and motivation for teamwork,” he said. “Maddie is the only undergraduate in my lab I trust to take on leadership roles, and she easily matches or tops my graduate students in her contributions to research and writing.”

While Sands' undergraduate accomplishments have been many, her future goals are just as lofty. She plans to pursue a master’s in global health at ASU, followed by a doctorate and a medical degree, ultimately leading to a practice in internal or emergency medicine. Research also is in the offing for Sands.

“I want to be a doctor who works across cultural divides and borders. I want to provide the best care to my patients, through direct care as well as from a policy standpoint. I plan to still engage in public health and policy research regardless of the branch of medicine I pursue,” she said.

Nicole Greason

Director of Marketing and Public Relations , Barrett, The Honors College