Emily Kennedy

Emily KennedyHello and thanks for visiting our blog!  My name is Emily and I’m 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 research sponsor is GOJO Industries, Inc.

My interest in biomimicry began in Spring 2010 during a semester of study abroad at the University of Wollongong in NSW, Australia.  There I enrolled in a class about biomimicry taught by Professor Connie Soja. More specifically, the class focused on 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.  In her incredible book, Benyus showed me why…with awesome clarity.  Natural mechanisms, processes, and systems will be our inspiration for a sustainable future.

After this revelatory experience in Australia, I was compelled to pursue a career in the environmental industry.  I wanted to advocate for Nature, re-framed for me by Janine Benyus as a wellspring of sustainable design feats.  I graduated from Colgate University in May 2011 and began working for an environmental consulting firm in Baltimore, MD.  About a year later, through my regular googling of biomimicry, I learned The University of Akron was establishing the first ever Biomimicry PhD within the Integrated Biosciences Program.  I applied and here I am.

I’m looking forward to sharing this educational experience with anyone who’s interested in biomimicry.  Also, please share your input/suggestions as we develop this brand new graduate-level curriculum!

One comment

  1. Connie Soja

    Hi Emily:

    You did a fantastic job in my course, and I am so proud of the work you are doing in the biomimicry field! Best wishes for a successful completion of your PhD. I look forward to learning more about the bio-inspired applications you uncover!

    Connie Soja

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