M.S. Environmental Engineering
Trophos Energy, University of Michigan, Stanford University, MudWatt
Co-founder, CEO of MudWatt
Favourite thing to do in my job: I like to look at stuff under a microscope — always entertaining!
I create electricity from mud, using bacteria! (and you can too!)
I’ve developed a science kit called the MudWatt that allows anyone to generate electricity from soil in their backyard. The kit employs the power of bacteria that naturally live in soils. Some of these bacteria have the amazing ability to munch up sugars and nutrients and essentially poop out molecules that have extra electrons on them. The MudWatt collects these extra electrons to power things!
My Typical Day
Calls with teachers, emails with users, muddy experiments running in the lab
My days are never the same. One day, I’ll be demonstrating the MudWatt at a conference, dressed up as a mad scientist and yelling “Clean Energy from Mud!” to attract people to my booth. The next day, I’ll be back at the lab to run some experiments and do some skype calls with teachers or students that are using the MudWatt in their classrooms.
Entrepreneurship is fun and exciting, but it is a lot of work! I work about 80-90 hrs per week. But when you have fun at your job, you’re never really “working”.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Energetic. Relentlessly positive. Constantly distracted.
What's the best thing you've done in your career?
I suppose creating the MudWatt has been my biggest achievement so far.
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My physics teacher — he secretly taught us how to make potato cannons in high school. My life was changed forever.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Cosmology – the study of the universe. The universe is a crazy place.
What did you want to be after you left school?
I really had no idea. I still don’t know what I want to do. Sometimes you just have to jump into something and give it a shot.
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Sometimes, mostly for sleeping through all my classes. I had an undiagnosed thyroid condition that made me sleep through most of my classes.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I would probably be an underwater photographer or something.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
I’ve motorcycled through rural Tanzania.
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
I wish I hadn’t played so many video games growing up — it gave me a false sense of accomplishment. I wish I socialized more growing up — social skills are so important in any job and scientists are often lacking in this area. For the future, I wish that I
Tell us a joke.
What do you call cheese that isn’t yours?…….Nacho cheese.