Incredible! Only one month into our 5-year Biomimicry PhD within the Integrated Biosciences program at UAkron and the three of us have already had the honor of meeting our idol, Janine Benyus, author of the best-selling book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. The 1997 book spurred the development of biomimicry as a widely recognized term and research paradigm. In response to overwhelming interest in the subject following the book’s publication, Benyus and her business partners founded the Biomimicry Guild, a consulting company, and the Biomimicry Institute, a non-profit which promotes biomimicry education. In 2010, the two organizations were integrated into a hybrid social enterprise branded Biomimicry 3.8. The CEO of Biomimicry 3.8, Chris Allen, joined Janine Benyus on her University of Akron visit.
We spent the morning with Janine and Chris at the Seiberling Nature Realm, asking them questions, discussing our research interests, and welcoming their generous advice about how to successfully develop our PhD curriculum. Both Janine and Chris were genuinely convinced of Northeast Ohio’s potential to become a widely-recognized hub of bio-inspiration. An NPR correspondent joined us for the tail end of our Nature Realm visit, and interviewed Janine, Doug Paige (one of our biomimicry professors), and the three of us. The 4-min radio interview aired on local news radio stations Monday September 24th! Great PR. You can listen to the NPR interview here.
In the evening, we had the honor of introducing Janine Benyus before she gave a talk at E.J. Thomas Hall on the UAkron campus. Here’s a video of us on stage. The turnout was phenomenal–the venue was packed with local business leaders, educators, and students K-12 and beyond. Energy is contagious, and with this level of energy at the outset of our educational journey at Akron, we feel incredibly motivated to learn as much as we can. More posts to follow!