Michael has developed a love for the world through many years of exploring Mother Earth’s beauty, respecting her gifts, and interacting with cultures across the globe. Hailing from the Southwest, Michael’s family is from both the Navajo reservation in northeast Arizona and also northern Colorado, where his parents currently live. Out of high school, Michael moved to Ithaca, New York to attend Cornell University, studying chemical engineering with a minor in music. At Cornell, he developed a strong sense of his own cultural identity, a passion for serving underrepresented students in the STEM fields, and began questioning how sustainability issues affect different communities. His research interests transitioned from biomedical research towards sustainability within the scope of engineering.
Currently, Michael is a chemical engineering Ph.D. student at The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH. His research explores how ecological systems can be included into technological design to expand the boundaries of traditional engineering and find innovative solutions that promote sustainability without jeopardizing economic competitiveness. This research interest is a result of searching for an intersection between indigenous cultures and engineering. For the past five years, he has worked with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and has organized multiple conferences, many with themes based on sustainability. Michael hopes to use his research and organizational actions to increase indigenous representation within the climate justice movement as well as within higher education. He is extremely excited to work with SustainUS and bring his story to COP23.