I started this semester strong… by skipping class for two weeks!
I’m not just on vacation though! I am in London for the Global Grand Challenges Summit hosted by the Royal Academy of Engineering. I have the amazing opportunity to attend the summit because of some work I have been doing with my entrepreneurship team, Marlink.
Marlink is composed of 5 engineers shown above (woooo women in STEM). We have been working for the past year on an underwater communication system that connects autonomous underwater vehicles with their operators. We have competed in a few pitch competitions on campus, which prepared us to apply for the Global Grand Challenges Summit Student Business Pitch Competition!
We competed in the regional competition in Irvine last spring, and then qualified as one of the 5 student teams to represent the US in London!
Flash forward to this past week. We got into London and the next day immediately pitched in the student competition finals! Although we didn’t place, it was amazing to see the innovations produced by students from the US, UK, and China.
After the in-country competition, we got split into international teams. You can see mine below! Our team alone represented the U.S, China, the U.K, Hong Kong, and Kuwait. In this international hackathon portion of the competition, our team was composed of 2 students each from the U.S, the U.K, and China. We came up with a system that converts food waste into gas for restaurants by using an anaerobic digester. In 24 hours, we prepared a pitch and poster to present to a panel of judges!
While the idea was cool, what was more important for me was the opportunity to learn from students from all over the world. They came up with ideas that I would have never thought of, like thinking of the issues around food waste in rural communities that don’t have refrigeration.
Outside of the student competition, at the main Summit we heard from senior engineers working on tackling the biggest problems our society is facing. There was even a 13-year-old American girl that presented on her invention that detects lead in water efficiently!
I am so grateful to have gotten the opportunity to represent the U.S (our whole U.S group is pictured above) at this summit, and to experience it with some of my closest friends from Marlink! I met so many talented young people who make me optimistic about facing our world’s biggest problems, like climate change.
Now, we are in London for a few more days to travel after the conference ended! On our itinerary for tonight is eating Indian food and seeing a musical on the West End. Cheers!