I’m Emily and I enrolled in August 2012 as a member of the first cohort of graduate students studying Biomimicry at the University of Akron. My adviser is Dr. Peter Niewiarowski of the Biology Department, and my corporate sponsor is GOJO Industries, Inc.
My interest in biomimicry began in Spring 2010 during a semester of undergraduate study abroad at the University of Wollongong in NSW, Australia. I enrolled in a biomimicry class there taught by Professor Constance Soja which was about the potential of Australia’s unique rainforest and reef species to inspire new technologies. Our first reading assignment was Janine Benyus’s Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Since childhood camping trips to the White Mountains, I’d always been awestruck by Nature’s designs. A 100-ft waterfall, a curiously-shaped leaf, a chirping cricket…I found them all beautiful and mysterious. Janine’s book made me realize that not only is nature awesome, it is also a rich source of inspiration for a sustainable future.
The focus of my graduate work is developing reliable pathways to biomimetic solutions that can be easily implemented by corporate innovation teams. I’m validating these pathways by piloting them with R&D teams at GOJO and analyzing results.