Award: The award went to Dana Nasser (left), Sal Veas (middle) and Nathan Khalil (right). Courtesy photo

The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property (Michelson IP) recently awarded three Santa Monica College faculty members with the inaugural Michelson IP Educator of Excellence Award for their leadership in championing intellectual property (IP) and entrepreneurship education.

The award is presented in partnership with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to IP education for budding entrepreneurs, inventors, makers and creators. Hailing from SMC’s Business Department, the award recipients are: department chair Sal Veas, Business & Administration of Justice faculty Dana Nasser and Business & Administration of Justice faculty Nathan Khalil.

“It has been an honor to help lead this movement to spread the message about the importance of intellectual property education. I can’t tell you how rewarding that has been and to expose the IP curriculum to our students,” Nasser said. “They’re thrilled to learn about these practical IP basic principles. It has also been a pleasure to help Community College faculty from many different areas to infuse IP into their curriculum. We have courses, including not just the obvious business law, but also introduction to business, marketing, photography, fashion, I mean, it’s hard to imagine how it doesn’t touch so many different areas.”

The award was presented at the NACCE Annual Conference following a keynote by Dr. Gary K. Michelson, founder and co-chair of the Michelson 20MM Foundation and sole named inventor of nearly 1,000 patents worldwide.

“Students are capable of spurring disruptive innovation,” Michelson said. “By nurturing students and lifelong learners with the proper IP education and resources, we can support inventors and entrepreneurs on their way to solving the world’s greatest challenges.”

In 2017, Santa Monica College was selected as the lead institution in a multi-campus pilot program launched by NACCE and Michelson IP. They developed a model curriculum to integrate Michelson IP’s free resources into community college courses.

“A lot of folks – students, entrepreneurs, artists – go out there into the real world, toil for years, do everything right, and earn a taste of success only to have it all compromised by a small IP misstep that could have been easily avoided with just a little bit of IP awareness. And so that’s what this is all about,” Khalil said.

Today, over 80 NACCE member colleges have utilized Michelson IP materials.

“Santa Monica College has been a leading advocate for IP education and a visionary champion when it comes to infusing IP curriculum into undergraduate programming across our nation,” said Phillip Kim, CEO of the Michelson 20MM Foundation. “Sal, Dana, and Nathan have worked with us from the beginning on numerous mission-aligned projects. We can’t imagine this work without their valuable contributions and expertise. It is a great honor to present them with this award.”

In addition to public recognition at the annual NACCE conference, the Michelson IP Educator of Excellence award includes a cash grant of $5,000 to the Santa Monica College Department of Business.

“Meeting the Michelson 20MM team at the 2016 NACCE National Conference was serendipity at its finest,” said Veas. “Little did we know that it was the start of a relationship that would have tremendous depth and reach in assisting community colleges to infuse IP into their curriculum. We feel so honored to be the first college to receive this award and recognition.”