Engineering Futures Scholar
Benjamin VollerBrown, a mechanical engineering rising sophomore, said he was born and raised to be a Sun Devil. Hailing from Chandler, Arizona, Voller-Brown said he “never even considered any other school.”
During his senior year of high school, VollerBrown was wavering between majoring in entrepreneurship or engineering. And, within engineering, he was deciding between biomedical and mechanical.
At the close of his freshman year at Arizona State, VollerBrown proved that he could do it all.
As a respondent to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Call to Action for engineering solutions to COVID-19, VollerBrown is working on the juxtaposition of engineering and medicine. His submission was selected by the NAE to participate in the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps) training to further develop his concept.
“I noticed that I was touching a lot of different surfaces. Especially when my mom and I went grocery shopping,” he said. “So I went home that day and I wrote down a common list of things I touched pretty much the entire day. I saw that there were a lot of commonalities…So, I figured I could come up with a design that would handle everything for me.”
With welfare and mentoring from the NSF I-Corps program, VollerBrown is currently working on prototypes of this multi-tool made of entirely recycled materials.
In his pursuit of entrepreneurship, VollerBrown has also recently started his own company, Arceate Health Innovation. Arceate is an old English word meaning “prevention.”
“My company is focused pretty much entirely on using principles of engineering for disease prevention. My two products thus far are the multi-tool that I have been developing and then a malaria net patching kit for insecticide-treated nets,” VollerBrown said.
He expects profitability from Arceate Health Innovation in only six to nine months.
Voller-Brown’s journey to success has not been all smooth sailing, of course.
“The biggest challenge has been figuring out a way to manage my time. Shifting from high school to college was much more drastic than I had expected. Especially living on your own, that was a big change for me,” he said.
From his experiences at ASU, VollerBrown was exposed to masses of opportunities, friends and new-found passions. However, like any student, he is not immune to defeat. And he wants each incoming freshman to pursue the opportunities they are presented with.
“The main thing that has always driven me is the thought of being able to overcome failure,” he said. “If something sounds interesting to you, do it. The worst thing that will happen is that you end up dropping it and end up prioritizing something else.”
By Danya Gainor, Science and Technology Writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
August 4, 2020