Smithsonian Magazine Announces the 2018 American Ingenuity Awards Winners and the Launch of the Second Annual Smithsonian Ingenuity Festival

The Annual American Ingenuity Awards Honor Individuals Who Are Transforming American Culture
October 26, 2018
News Release

Addthis Share Tools

ingenuity awards light bulb.

Smithsonian magazine, the flagship publication of the Smithsonian Institution, today announced the honorees of the seventh annual American Ingenuity Awards and the launch of the second annual Smithsonian Ingenuity Festival.

Deemed “the Golden Globes of Intellect,” the American Ingenuity Awards honor individuals across nine wide-ranging categories: Education, History, Life Sciences, Performing Arts, Physical Sciences, Social Progress, Technology, Visual Arts and Youth.

The 2018 American Ingenuity Awards honorees are:

  • Tracy K. Smith, 22nd Poet Laureate of the United States, honored for Education
  • John Leguizamo, actor, stand-up comedian, honored for History
  • Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, and Albert Maguire, MD, honored for Life Sciences
  • Janelle Monáe, singer/songwriter and actress, honored for Performing Arts
  • Scott Bolton, associate vice president of the Southwest Research Institute Space Science and Engineering Division, honored for Physical Sciences
  • Mónica Ramírezand Mily Treviño-Sauceda, co-founders of Alianza Nacional De Campesinas (National Farmworker Women’s Alliance), honored for Social Progress
  • CEO John Krafcik and CTO, VP Engineering Dmitri Dolgov of Waymo, a self-driving technology company, honored for Technology
  • John Krasinski, actor, writer and director, honored for Visual Arts
  • Parkland Survivors/March for Our Lives, honored for Youth

The ceremony honoring this year’s winners will be held on December 5, 2018, at the Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.

The honorees will be featured in Smithsonian magazine’s special December American Ingenuity Awards issue, available on newsstands November 27 and on

“Year after year, the American Ingenuity Awards honor those on the cutting edge of American achievement, revolutionizing American culture by promoting societal progress and activism in their works,” says Smithsonian Editor in Chief Michael Caruso. “In the second year of the Smithsonian Ingenuity Festival, the spirit of innovation continues to grow, brought to life at many of our great Smithsonian museums in Washington D.C. and in New York.”

The Smithsonian Ingenuity Festival kicks off on November 29 and continues through December 9. Highlights of the festival include:

  • The Long Conversation: Ideas to Light the Future at the Arts & Industries Building
  • A conversation with Janelle Monae at the National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Breakthroughs in Medical Science at the National Museum of Natural History, sponsored by America’s Biopharmaceuticals
  • Pioneers of Spacewar! at the National Museum of American History
  • A conversation with John Krasinski at the Smithsonian American Art Museum
  • Bright Ideas at the Cooper Hewitt
  • A conversation with Scott Bolton at the National Air & Space Museum
  • A conversation with John Leguizamo at the National Museum of American History

Smithsonian museums hosting events include the Arts and Industries Building, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, National Museum of American History, National Air and Space Museum, National Postal Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum, National Museum of Natural History, and National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Most of the events are free to the public and some require a reservation. For more information about the programs, to purchase tickets, make reservations and to get up-to-the-minute event details go to

About Smithsonian Media

Smithsonian Media is comprised of its flagship publication, Smithsonian magazine, Air & Space magazine, Smithsonian Books, and the Smithsonian Media Digital Network. In addition, Smithsonian Media oversees the Smithsonian Institution’s interest in the Smithsonian Channel, a joint venture between the Smithsonian Institution and CBS/Showtime. Smithsonian Media is a division of Smithsonian Enterprises, the revenue-generating business unit of the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Institution is the world's largest museum and research complex consisting of 20 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, and nine research facilities. Approximately 30 million people from around the world visit the museums annually. Visit and



Media Contact:

Kristen Kehlet​
(212) 918-2026

Public Programs