Our annual Leadership Awards recognize the best in achievement and leadership potential, and are one of the concrete ways we seek to assist young leaders and scholars in STEM, Sustainability and leadership itself. We are excited to share our 2018 Straubel Engineers of the Future, Rising Leaders and Impact Leaders.
Eric Reynolds Brubaker
Driven by “an intense empathy for others,” Eric has recently launched a social venture in Tanzania to distribute a solar-powered income generating appliance for off-grid chicken-raising families. “After Stanford, I wish to continue creating and growing organizations that build a future in which all people have what they need to thrive: access to safe water, reliable electricity, a healthy planet, lasting income, quality education, and psychologically safe settings.”
See Eric’s other awards and achievement below.
By her second year at Harvard Law, Kelsey was already in practice as founder of the Climate Defense Project. CDP seeks to catalyze the climate movement with aggressive legal action to protect human health and our planet. “The climate movement is in a pivotal moment, and legal progress is essential if it is to realize its full potential. In 3-5 years, CDP aims to scale its model and win recognition of the climate necessity defense in other states.”
See Kelsey’s other awards and achievement below.
Adam Eberwein is the Director of Microgrid Operations at EarthSpark International, started overseeing EarthSpark’s inaugural microgrid in Les Anglais, Haiti, just months before Hurricane Matthew hit in 2016. While rebuilding one grid, he is also leading the development of 3 additional community-sized, smart grids in the region. To add to his deep commitment to sustainability, Adam has recently begun his Masters in Engineering.
See Adam’s other awards and achievement below.
Diego Ontaneda Benavides
With the Latin American Leadership Academy (LALA), Diego is investing in the next generation of young leaders by putting on leadership boot camps in Brazil, Colombia, and eventually across Latin America. “Each boot camp brings LALA to the host country, builds a “hub” of local allies, and engages in powerful word-of-mouth marketing,” he tells us. “These efforts create fertile ground across the continent to help us launch our flagship 18-month program in two years.” Diego calls his superpower “creative optimism”, the tendency to seek opportunities in any situation.
See Diego’s other awards and achievement below.
Connie Liu envisions an educational approach that shifts “priorities away from test scores and towards developing creative problem solvers.” Her solution? Get students inventing things, ASAP. Her startup nonprofit Project Invent partners with schools across the country to to offer special programs to help young minds develop within an invention mindset, and with Project Invent’s guidance, students have developed everything from smart wallets to help the blind detect bill denominations to steering wheel attachments to prevent drowsy driving.
See Connie’s other awards and achievement below.
Heather is doing her part to address climate change by founding what she calls a “small but bold company” called EVmatch. The company deploys electric vehicle charging solutions that will help drive the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. “My superpower is tenacity,” she told us. “In less than two years, EVmatch has built web and mobile applications, launched, and have grown the network to over 500 EV drivers in California and Colorado.”
See Heather’s other awards and achievement below.
Daniela is Founder and CEO of Sustainable Ocean Alliance (SOA), a global organization that advances the impact of youth-led social enterprises, start-ups and community projects to protect and sustain our oceans. By building an incubator for a new generation of startups, Daniela is not only building one organization -- she’s multiplying her impact.
See Daniela’s other awards and achievement below.
Madhav was only eight years old when he founded Green the Gene, and fourteen years later its record is impressive: projects in 62 countries, raised over $1.1 million in annual funding and support, and mobilized over 7000 young people to join in leading change in their local communities. He tells us “I strongly believe that climate change is the biggest challenge of our generation, and it is up to us, young technologists, engineers and entrepreneurs to build solutions.”
See Madhav’s other awards and achievement below.
Now conducting field research on Sakhalin Island in Russia, Margaret told us she would not be where she is today without a “pure, unadulterated need to explore the world.” As for her near-term goals, she tells us “I am very interested in working at a place that offers me greater insight into young entrepreneurs in Russia and the US to learn more about the various challenges that they face and possibly how I might be able to help in the future.”
See Margaret’s other awards and achievement below.
Ritish leads Luso Labs, which has built a diagnostic device using imaging, machine learning and Android phones to increase cervical cancer screening accuracy for low-income women around the world. With $400K in grants, Luso is now gearing towards a pilot study in India in early 2019. He tells us he’s inspired by his dual identity as a child of the developed and the developing world.
See Ritish’s other awards and achievement below.
At age 15, Jadelynn has already led championship teams in competitive robotics tournaments, winning 10 awards, 5 tournament titles, while also teaching a Girls Who Code club at her old elementary school. She told us a fascinating story of a personal and team turning point -- at a most intense moment of competitive risk!
See Jadelyn’s other awards and achievement below.
When Marissa applied for a campus arts grant, she made her first sentence a memorable one: “I want to vandalize Allegheny College and Meadville.” But by vandalism she meant planting gardens all over, raising novel and sophisticated questions of ownership, the commons, and nature. This Fall, Marissa takes her way-outside-the-box thinking to Carnegie Mellon, where she’s pursuing her master’s degree in the College of Engineering in the Energy Science, Technology, and Policy (EST&P) program.
See Marissa’s other awards and achievement below.
Ritik discovered his love for making things when his brother introduced him to a “makers kit”. Since then, he hasn’t stopped building. He told us a quote from his favorite book, the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
See Ritik’s other awards and achievement below.
Amanda describes herself as having a ‘Go for the Gusto’ attitude, and plans to put her engineering and business acumen to use for meaningful ends. A graduate student in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford, she’s now working on her first entrepreneurial venture, incorporating sewing, craft-making, fashion, and expression with electronics and computational thinking.
See Amanda’s other awards and achievement below.
Other Awards and Achievements:
Eric Brubaker Reynolds
2021 Stanford University: PhD, Mechanical Engineering
2018 Stanford University, MS, Mechanical Engineering
2009 The Ohio State University: BS, Mechanical Engineering, minors in Chemistry, Philosophy, International Development
Stanford Graduate Public Service Fellowship
2018 Haas Center for Public Service
2017 Best Research Paper Award, American Society of Engineering Education Conference
2017 Cooperative Agreement, US Agency of International Development
2016 Graduate Research Fellowship, U.S. National Science Foundation
2015 Program Grant, Newman’s Own Foundation
2015 Program Grant, Sorenson Impact Foundation
2012 Program Grant, Bohemian Foundation
2011 Semi-Finalist, Emerging Markets Category, MIT $100K Business Plan Competition
2010 E-Teams Grant, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance
2009 1st Place in Engineering, Ohio State Undergraduate Research Forum
2009 Rob Wolf Outstanding Senior Award, Ohio State Mechanical Engineering
2009 Excellence in Community Service Award (two of ~55,000 students)
2009 Elected Board Member, Beanie Drake Student Leadership Endowment Fund
2009 Elected President, Ohio State Engineers for Community Service
2018 Echoing Green Climate Fellow
2016 Harvard Law School: JD, cum laude
University of California, Davis: BA, International Relations
2016 Harvard Law School Public Service Venture Fund
Constance Baker Motley National Writing Competition for NSA Surveillance Programs and the First Amendment
2016 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law
2015 Ford Foundation Social Justice Fellow
2015 Chayes International Public Service Fellow
President, Harvard Law Students for Sustainable Investment
President, Harvard Law School Forum
Co-President, Harvard Environmental Law Society
2017 Harvard University: VUS, Computer Science
Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur: BS, MS, Computer Science
The Commonwealth Youth Award for Excellence in Development Work
Fellowship to the Royal Commonwealth Society, awarded by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust
Yenching Social Innovation Award
Water filtration devices providing safe water access to 40,000+ people
TEXATA Data Science Championship: World finalist
Volvo Adventure Project
Youth Environmentalist of the Year, awarded by the President of India
Advisory Mentor to the Queen's Young Leaders Programme, University of Cambridge
TEDx India. "How young people can drive environmental Innovation?"
2017 Yenching Social Innovation Forum, Beijing, China
2017 UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), Nairobi, Kenya, as member of the MGFC and Global Representative of Children and Youth to the UNEP
2015 UN General Assembly, High Level Event on Climate Change, New York
2020 Carnegie Mellon University: MS, College Energy Science, Technology, and Policy
2016 Allegheny College, BS Environmental Science
2018 Women's International Network of Utility Professionals Fellowship
Lyle Mamer fellowship award
2018 Clean Energy Leadership Award from the Midwest Renewable Energy Association & the Straubel Foundation
Alden Scholar Dean’s List 180 Medical Scholarship
Kleeman Fund grant
MASA Study Abroad Scholar
Ohio Music Education Association All-State Choir
Shorin-Ryu Karate Brown Belt (Practicing since 1999, kata, grappling, jiu jitsu, & synchronized kata)
Aikido first rank
National Thespians Honor Society
National French Honors Society
Currently pursuing B.A. at University of North Texas
2019 Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science
2018 Massachusetts Institute of Technology: LaunchX Program
Founder of the Project Invent Club at TAMS
2018 Cornell Cup Pitch Competition for IOT & Embedded Systems Projects
2018 International Scientific Online Project Olympiad
2017-18 Raspberry Pi Instructables Contest
2017 Texas BEST & UIL State Robotics Championship
2017 Intel International Science Engineering Fair
2017 Texas State Science Fair
Yale Science Fair Award
2016 Google Global Science Fair
2016 ISWEEEP Olympiad – Korean Science Service Award
NCWIT National Award
California State Legislature Assembly Recognition
Union School District - 1st place at a regional robotics
2018 Society of Women Engineering GetSET Program Class Ambassador
Robotics (FIRST LEGO League): 3 years Robot Performance Qualifier 1st Place, 2 years Qualifier Champion, 2-Time NorCal Regional
2016 FIRST World Festival (Robot score: 10th of 108 teams), International Champion of the NASA Mountain State
2018 VCSL Swim Championship – Team MVP and Record Holder
Elected to Student Council since 2011
VP to Honors Society
2020 Stanford University Phd, Bioengineering
2016 Columbia University: BS, Biomedical Engineering, Cum Laude
2022 Harvard Business School: MBA
2018 Vodafone Wireless Innovation Project Prize
2017 Cisco Innovation Challenge Prize
2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
2016 Stanford ChEM-H CBI Training Fellowship
2016 Reiss Prize
2015 Goldwater Scholar
2015 Co-President and 2014 Vice-President of Columbia Biomedical Engineering Society
2015 Editor-in-Chief and 2014 Vice-President of Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal
2014 Co-President and 2013 Vice-President of Columbia Engineers Without Borders Chapter
2013 Columbia Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship
2012 UT Southwestern Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship
2011 Harvard Stem Cell Institute Summer Research Fellowship
2013 California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo: BS, Mechanical Engineering
Michigan Tech University: MS, Electrical Engineering Power Systems (currently pursuing)
Professional Engineer (PE) license as a Mechanical Engineer and am now also working towards my Project Management Professional (PMP) certification
Member, Pi Tau Sigma (International Honor Society for Mechanical Engineers)
University of Applied Sciences, Munich
2016 Massachusetts Institute of Technology: BS, Mechanical Engineering, Phi Beta Kappa
2015 University of Cambridge Mechanical Engineering
VP of MIT Society of Women Engineers
Founded & Directed MIT Design for America
Founded & Directed Project Invent
Business Insider nominated Incredibly Impressive Student at MIT
4.0 Schools Tiny Fellow
Philanthropic Ventures Fellow
Facebook Grant Recipient
FingerReader (project featured in Time, Business Insider, etc.)
Diego Ontaneda Benavides
2018 Stanford University: MBA, Business Administration and Management
2011 Williams College: BA, Political Economy
2010 University of Oxford Economics, Politics, Philosophy, Law
Echoing Green Fellow
Stanford GSB Miller Social Change Leadership Award
Co-President of GSB Social Innovation Club
Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude at Williams College
Arthur B. Graves Prize for Political Economy Essay at Williams College
Georgetown University: Dean's List
2018 Conference Speaker at ASPAC 2018, the Russian Far East
Leslie J. Zambo Scholar
2018 Freeman Foundation Fellow, field researcher on Sakhalin Island
Middlebury Institute of International Studies Merit Scholarship
Member of Dobro Slovo National Slavic Honor Society
2018 Frontier Market Scouts: Impact Investing and Social Enterprise Management Certification
2018 Stanford: MS, Management Science and Engineering
2015 Rice University: BS, Mechanical Engineering
Stanford University MS&E Department Service Award
2018 ACM Interaction Design and Children (IDC) Conference
Rice University Outstanding Senior Award
NIBIB DEBUT Challenge IncuBaby
Rice University Engineering Best Interdisciplinary Design: IncuBaby
Rice University Outstanding Bioengineering Design Project: Incubaby
2014 “A Robot System Design for Low-Cost Multi-Robot Manipulation” in IROS
2016 Georgetown University: BS, Economics and Government
2017 Harvard Business School: Summer Management Venture Program
Recognized for her work by former U.S. Secretary John Kerry and EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella
2016 World Economic Forum Global Shaper, Azula’s Top 5 Ocean Heroes
2016 Glamour Magazine’s Young Women of the Year
Peter Benchley Ocean Award
Contributor to National Geographic blog and Sustainable Brands
Interviewed by Voice of America, New York City TV, Ocean Radio, The Economist World Ocean Summit, United Nations, Net Impact Conference, World Ocean Festival, Collision Conference, and WE Day.
2018 Echoing Green Climate Fellow
2016 University of California, Santa Barbara: MS, Environmental Science and Management
2009 University of California, Berkeley: BS, Molecular Environmental Biology
2009 UC Berkeley Alumni Leadership Scholarship
2008 Elected UC Berkeley Ski Team President
2015 Winner, MSNBC/Net Impact Growing Hope Competition
2016 UC Berkeley Cleantech University Prize
2017 Boulder Energy Challenge
2017 MergeLane Accelerator portfolio company