DevEng & InFEWS fellow Paige Balcom wins 2021 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize

Paige Balcom
Courtesy of Silvia Ahn and Lemelson-MIT

DevEng PhD student and InFEWS fellow, Paige Balcom, was awarded the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for her work on recycling plastic waste in Uganda. Together with Peter Okwoko, Paige founded Takataka Plastics, an organization that develops innovative solutions for plastic waste and social change in Uganda. The Lemelson-MIT Student Prize recognizes undergraduate teams and graduate students who have invented solutions in prize categories that represent significant sectors of the global economy. The “Use It!” Category, that Paige won, rewards students working on technology-based inventions that involve consumer devices or products.

Paige was selected through a highly-competitive process that involved three rounds of committees and jury, evaluating the overall inventiveness of her work, the potential for commercialization/adoption of the invention, the systems and design thinking approach applied to the development of the invention, youth mentoring and leadership experience, and faculty recommendations. Winning the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize will provide Paige new opportunities and support for her work as an inventor! Congratulations again!

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Host and Fellow Responsibilities

Host Organizations

  • Identify staff supervisor to manage I&E Climate Action Fellow
  • Submit fellowship description and tasks
  • Engage in the matching process
  • Mentor and advise students
  • Communicate with Berkeley program director and give feedback on the program.

Berkeley Program Director​

  • Communicate with host organizations, students, and other university departments to ensure smooth program operations

Student Fellows

  • Complete application and cohort activities
  • Communicate with staff and host organizations
  • Successfully complete assignments from host organization during summer practicum
  • Summarize and report summer experience activities post-fellowship