KU Student Presents Pitch at the UN Youth Climate Summit in NYC

MSc in materials science and engineering student Edgar B. Mejia participated in the Summer of Solutions Young Entrepreneurs Pitch Competition, which was organized by the United Nations and held in New York as part of the Youth Climate Action Summit day on 21 September 2019.

Edgar was selected as one of five finalists from over 150 applicants from around the world to pitch at the Summit for his innovative, sustainability-focused Project 2 to 3 business idea. All projects aimed to provide a solution for one of three categories: Circular Economy, Climate Information, and Ethical Fashion.

Edgar’s solution addressed the challenge of the Circular Economy category. He proposed leveraging 3D printing to give a second life to single-use plastics. By converting the plastics into filaments, they could be fed into a 3D printer to make something new and useful.

“Presenting our project idea at the United Nations in front of hundreds of people was a life-changing experience. However, the most impactful part of this opportunity was meeting other young people who are determined to promote sustainable development. We need to become a generation that faces and fixes their own problems,” Edgar shared.

Edgar is a Fulbright Scholar and Co-Founder of IDEA 1.61, a startup in Mexico that aims to provide highly motivated students with access to design machines and training. The focus of his Fulbright is to research upcycling of high-density polyethylene plastic waste into 3D printing filament.

He received his BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois in 2018. While at Khalifa University, Edgar plans to continue doing research on novel plastics for additive manufacturing that can be easily recycled. Additionally, he is working on bringing IDEA 1.61 to the UAE, with the collaboration of national partners.

Erica Solomon
Senior Editor
9 October 2019