Shah Selbe

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National Geographic Emerging Explorer. Spacecraft Propulsion Engineer. Ocean Conservation Technologist. Leader at Engineers Without Borders.

My primary activity is focused on the use of engineering in it's ability to harness design and science to improve humanity and solve our greatest problems. These efforts are specifically within the areas of ocean conservation, unmanned spacecraft, and access to clean water, sanitation, and renewable energy in the developing world.

I am a conservation technologist and technology expert working to identify and implement innovative approaches to ocean conservation. This work began at Stanford University and I have worked with a number of influential nonprofits and government organizations worldwide. The work, often called “FishNET”, was honored as 2011 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Semi-Finalist, 2011 Savannah Ocean Exchange Gulfstream Navigator Finalist, and 2011 Katerva Award Nominee. Most recently, this work resulted in National Geographic naming me as one of their 2013 Emerging Explorers. This includes the identification of innovative approaches and technologies that work within the constraints of a certain community, including the development of hardware (low cost conservation drones, acoustic sensors, etc) and data management solutions (smartphone apps, online databases, etc.). I also created MPA Guardian, a website and smartphone app to allow crowdsourced protection of CA’s marine protected area network.

I also work as a spacecraft propulsion systems engineer, focused on both liquid and ion propulsion systems for satellites. In this work, I have supported propulsion systems engineering, R&D efforts, and worked numerous launches and mission controls.

Finally, I serve as the Southern California Regional Representative for Engineers Without Borders (EWB), watching over all the university and professional chapters in the region (consisting of thousands of professional engineers and engineering students). I have held multiple leadership roles within EWB, including many years as President of the Los Angeles Professional chapter and project leads for many projects throughout the world. Some examples of the projects I have built are homes in Mexico, solar energy projects in Mali, water distribution systems in Malawi, and rainwater catchment systems in Tanzania (so students spend time in school instead of fetching water).

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