Frecker's origami research is part of NBC Learn educational video series

February 18, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Mary Frecker, professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State, and her research on origami-inspired structures for medicine and space exploration are highlighted in an educational video series produced by NBC Learn, in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The “Science of Innovation” series includes six videos that explore how innovation can turn fundamental science and engineering ideas into significant societal and economic impacts. The videos continue NBC Learn’s and the NSF’s Emmy Award-winning "Science of..." partnership that has produced 12 other educational video series.

“Across the country our schools are full of bright students with creative imaginations and soaring optimism. These ‘Science of Innovation’ videos demonstrate that when you mix a big idea with an entrepreneurial spirit, there is no limit to what can be achieved,” said USPTO Director Michelle K. Lee. “By continuing to engage with students and encourage them to pursue an education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, we give them the tools to turn their dreams into realities and lay the foundation of future innovation.”

Narrated by NBC News and MSNBC anchor Kate Snow, the six videos will be available through NBC affiliate stations, and can also be seen for free online at,, and

Each video aligns to state and national education standards. Lesson plans and activities will also be available soon to help teachers engage students in the classroom and teach key concepts about innovation and STEM.

“We’re pleased to partner with the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to launch the next phase in NBC Learn’s ‘Science of Innovation’ series,” said Soraya Gage, vice president and general manager of NBC Learn. “These videos can inspire students to become inventors of the future whose ideas shape our society.”

NBC Learn, the educational arm of the NBCUniversal News Group, will host a Twitter chat where viewers can learn more and join the discussion by using the hashtag #ScienceofInnovation at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2. The chat will feature some of the innovators profiled in the videos, including Frecker, as well as experts from the NSF and USPTO.

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  • Mary Frecker

    Mary Frecker, professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 19, 2016