What’s been your area of focus at Friedman?
Originally, I intended to learn about plant-based proteins, and I did get exposure to that industry here. But because of an internship I did, my classes, my professors, and other people I’ve met at Tufts, I started working on hydroponics. And now I’m part of a startup called Atlas Urban Farms, which is helping chefs grow herbs in their own kitchens using hydroponics.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned during your time at Tufts?
Before I came to Friedman, I interned for a unique project in Sacramento: I worked at an urban farm and then delivered fresh food to the food bank. But, at the time, I didn’t have the full context for understanding food insecurity.
Friedman has taught me so much about food insecurity—and nutrition insecurity—and it feels good to transfer what I’ve learned to my current focus in hydroponics. For example, I can see now what a difference it would make not having to transport all our food to restaurants; the negative environmental impact would be far less, and the produce would lose no nutrients during the time it takes to get from harvesting to a restaurant's kitchen. Imagine if everything were just grown onsite. That’s what I envision: a world where everything is walls of greenery.
Complete the following statement: “Because of Tufts, I…”
… am a more well-rounded person. I came in strictly with an agricultural background; the program has given me exposure to everything related to food and nutrition. It pushed me into thinking about how we can feed ourselves better, but it also launched me into previously unexplored areas of entrepreneurship innovation. I got a crash course in finance, marketing, sales, and the whole logic of business. I didn’t expect that, walking into the program. Now, because of the classes I’ve taken and the people I’ve met, I can grow my own business.
What’s next for you?
Tufts has prepared me very well for the job market, and I’m still looking at opportunities. But mostly, I’m excited to continue with the startup.