Staff

Carol Dahl, Executive Director

Carol Dahl, Executive Director

Dr. Carol Dahl is the Executive Director of The Lemelson Foundation. With a background in discovery sciences, innovation programs, and global health and development, Dr. Dahl leads the Foundation’s work to use the power of invention to improve lives. The Foundation inspires and enables the next generation of inventors and invention-based enterprises to promote economic growth in the US, and help solve social and economic problems for the poorest populations in developing countries.

Prior to joining the foundation in July 2011, Dahl worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in various roles, including founding Director of the Global Health Discovery Program and as Director of Staff for the overall Global Health Program. During her tenure at the Gates Foundation, Dahl built the platform discovery innovation programs Grand Challenges in Global Health and Grand Challenges Explorations. Read More

Rachel Jagoda Brunette, Program Officer

Rachel Jagoda Brunette coordinates The Lemelson Foundation’s regional focus within our home state of Oregon, working to enhance the local ecosystem that inspires individuals to invent, supports invention education, and nurtures young inventors in taking their idea to impact through new invention-based businesses.

Prior to joining the Foundation in 2014, Rachel worked on science, technology, and education policy in the government and nonprofit sectors. As professional staff with the US House of Representatives Committee on Science and Technology, she handled oversight of federal STEM programs at the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies. She also helped advocate for investments in education, sustainability, and basic research while working at the American Society for Engineering Education. After relocating to Oregon in 2008, Rachel worked for local members of the US Congress on issues related to STEM education, technology industry development and economic competitiveness. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in political management from The George Washington University.

Jennifer Burran, Grants Manager

Jennifer Burran, Grants Manager

Jennifer Burran joined the Lemelson Foundation in June 2009 as Grants Manager where she manages the operations of the grants and program-related investment (PRI) portfolios. This includes implementing efficient and effective processes and procedures, ensuring legal compliance, monitoring grant and PRI agreements, authorizing grant payments and managing modification requests.

Prior to this, Jennifer held grants management roles at The Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and The Gill Foundation. She began her career in marketing where she wrote website content, marketing collateral materials, and direct mail campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, start-up high tech companies and non-profit organizations. Jennifer currently serves on the Advisory Council for NGOsource, a project of the Council on Foundations and TechSoup Global, which is an equivalency determination service that helps U.S. grantmakers streamline their international giving.  From 2007-2011, she served on the Grants Manager’s Network Board of Directors, serving as co-chair of the nominating committee. Jennifer earned a B.A. from Indiana University with a double major in communications and marketing.

David Coronado, Program Officer

David Coronado joined The Lemelson Foundation as a Program Officer in 2015, and works to support student growth by promoting equal access to invention education, STEM coursework, and out-of-school learning in K-12 schools. David is passionate about breaking the cycle of poverty that prevents many young people from succeeding, and providing alternative pathways that involve inspiration, education and graduation.

Before joining The Lemelson Foundation, David spent over a decade as executive director of the Oregon MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) program at Portland State University – a Lemelson Foundation grantee. He managed all aspects of Oregon MESA’s work to help students from underserved communities gain access to STEM and invention education. Nationally, he served as the President of the MESA USA organization and brought invention education as an approach that has now been integrated across the MESA program nationally. In addition, David served as an academic coordinator at Harvey Mudd College Math and Science Center and as President of the Oregon College Access Network.

David holds a B.A. from Occidental College.

Tak Kendrick, Communications Officer

Tak Kendrick, Communications Officer

Tak Kendrick manages the Foundation’s communications efforts, coordinating with staff, grantees and external communications partners to promote our work and the work of our grantees in the US and developing countries. Tak also manages the Foundation’s grants related to using media to inspire the next generation of inventors and invention-based businesses.

Prior to joining the Foundation in 2009, Tak worked as a content manager and writer for web 2.0 and high-tech startups, including the wiki AboutUs.org. He has also worked as a journalist and graphic designer for several daily and weekly publications, and as the news director for a community radio station. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Naropa University and a BA in Communications from The Evergreen State College.

Alexander Nicholas, Program Officer

Alexander Nicholas, Program Officer

Dr. Alexander Nicholas is a Program Officer at the Lemelson Foundation and manages a portion of the Foundation’s education and technology dissemination grants.  Alexander’s work supports the development of a pipeline of inventors and invention-based enterprises in the US and seeds technology development that could improve the lives of the poor in developing countries.

Prior to joining the Foundation in early 2012, Alexander served as a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the US Department of Commerce. His portfolio included managing the work of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship subcommittee on Collaboration, which advises the White House and Secretary of Commerce on innovation policy and co-managing the i6 Green technology commercialization program. Alexander also completed an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowship at the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Commerce.  As a AAAS fellow, Alexander worked on graduate education, industrial partnerships and national innovation policies.  Prior to his fellowship, Alexander received a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Florida State University and then performed postdoctoral research at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Medical Center.  Alexander served on the Harvard Postdoctoral Association Governing Board and was a member of Harvard Biotechnology Club.

Graham Pugh, Deputy Director

Graham Pugh became Deputy Director of The Lemelson Foundation in 2015. In that capacity he works to help advance programs and initiatives in support of our strategy, as well as lead efforts that span across the Foundation’s portfolio. Graham draws on three decades of diverse experience in the public policy, international development, engineering, and technology sectors.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Graham most recently served as director of the Office of Climate Change Policy and Technology at the U.S. Department of Energy. In that position, he oversaw engagement with global energy ministries and managed agreements focused on renewable energy, energy efficiency and access, and human capacity. Previously, Graham served at the White House as deputy associate director for Technology and International Affairs at the Council on Environmental Quality. Graham also spent years facilitating development of new technologies for Intel and other corporations.

Graham holds a B.A. in physics and a master of engineering from Cornell University. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya.

Jea Seconi, Senior Program Assistant

Jea Seconi, Senior Program Assistant

Jea Seconi provides program and project management and administrative support for the Foundation’s team.

Prior to joining the Foundation in August 2007, Jea worked as the Admissions and Development Coordinator and Director of Alumni Relations for the Rapid City Catholic School System. She earned a BBA with a double major in Finance and Business Administration from Houston Baptist University, Houston Texas. Jea moved to Portland in June 2007.

Kenneth W. Turner, Program Officer

Kenneth W. Turner is a Program Officer at The Lemelson Foundation and leads projects that incubate science, technology, and invention-based enterprises to improve the lives of the poor in developing countries.

Before joining The Lemelson Foundation, Kenneth served as Associate Director and World Economic Forum Global Leadership Fellow with the Schwab Foundation, where he supported a large community of social enterprises throughout Africa and Latin America, and helped foster greater cooperation across the private sector, government, and civil society organizations. He has also worked with USAID’s Development Credit Authority mobilizing local private sector capital to help businesses and social enterprises in developing countries succeed, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia, supporting a microcredit fund which provided short-term loans to rural and agricultural microenterprises.

Kenneth holds a B.S. from Syracuse University with a double major in Finance and Policy Studies, and an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.

Philip Varnum, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer

Philip Varnum, Chief Financial & Administrative Officer

Philip Varnum serves as Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, responsible for the Foundation’s finances, investments, IT infrastructure, and administration. Additionally, he manages the Foundation’s portfolio of Program Related Investments (PRIs).

Prior to joining The Lemelson Foundation in 2007, Philip was with Portland State University Foundation for nearly ten years where he was responsible for accounting, investment, human resources, real estate and entrepreneurial functions. Philip earned an MBA degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.