The Challenge 2050 Project at the University of Florida

We believe in the power of human beings to change the world for the better. Aware, connected, creative human beings make innovative and inspired decisions. We cultivate the capacity for adaptive leadership and social responsibility in the next generation of global change-makers.

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John Hursh

At the University of Florida, John pursues Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. When he’s not pouring over classwork, he’s fulfilling his duties as a Research Assistant in the school of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Peer Advisor for Chemical Engineering, or a Resident Assistant (RA) with on-campus housing. He calls Winter Park, FL home but he’s had the privilege to both live and travel abroad. Gainesville quickly became a cozy home away from home in addition to providing him with an exceptional educational experience.

Fall 2015 he won an essay contest on the topic of sustainable energy technology for space colonization. It made him realize that before we even consider looking at other planets, we need to be doing the best we can for our own.

To diversify fuel options, conserve freshwater and increase food security, his lab investigates biofuel and fertilizer collection from dairy farm runoff with microalgae. In the process of saving the world, he hopes to use isolated algae cultures to remove the waterborne nutrients leading to harmful algae blooms. Additionally the farmers would then be in control of an algal biofuel source while having the capability to collect their own biodegradable algae beads to use for crop fertilization rather than the use of expensive, harmful fertilizers.