Columbia Engineers Highlight Forbes 30 Under 30 List

L-R: Kevin Tyan, Jason Kang, and Katherine Jin of Kinnos
—Photo courtesy of Katherine Jin

Several Columbia engineers were recently named to the annual Forbes 30 Under 30 list of bright talent already making waves in and beyond their professions.

Biomedical engineering student Jason Kang ’16SEAS was recognized in the Healthcare category for Highlight, a powdered additive for disinfectant solutions that helps health care workers more reliably treat surfaces.  Developed with Katherine Jin ‘16CC and Kevin Tyan ‘16CC, the patent-pending product temporarily colorizes decontaminated surfaces while enhancing adhesion and antiviral potency, protecting personnel at high risk of contracting infectious diseases like Ebola.

The trio founded Kinnos to bring their innovation to market after participating in the School’s Ebola Design Challenge in fall 2014, quickly persuading the New York City Fire Department to add Highlight to its HazMat unit decontamination protocol. Subsequently, Kinnos won the USAID Fighting Ebola Grand Challenge, earning support for further testing, manufacturing, and deployment.

Adam Elmachtoub
—Photo by Timothy Lee Photographers

Forbes also honors the work of Adam Elmachtoub (Science category), assistant professor of industrial engineering and operations research and a faculty member of the Data Science Institute; and Michael Wang (Manufacturing & Industry), an adjunct assistant professor of electrical engineering who helped develop Columbia Engineering’s Internet-of-Things curriculum. Elmachtoub explores how businesses can use data science and optimizing algorithms to work more efficiently, with research interests including how customers choose products, the development of new drugs, and how online sellers can best manage their supply chains. Wang, cofounder and chief engineer of the startup FutureAir, innovates connected air conditioners and fans to reduce carbon emissions and waste.

Additionally, the list features two young SEAS alumni: venture capitalist Rami Rahal MS’09 (Venture Capital), cofounder and general partner at Blue Cloud Ventures; and Chelsey Roebuck BS’10 (Education), cofounder of Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering (ELiTE). Blue Cloud is a New York-based growth-stage firm focused on software-as-a-service companies. After helping raise more than $65 million, Rahal has invested in 16 promising endeavors, with two major exits so far from his first fund. ELiTE helps promote diversity in STEM fields by increasing young thinkers’ access to school-based programs, summer camps, e-learning platforms, and a broad array of professionals to develop hands-on problem-solving.

Inductees were selected by distinguished panels of judges spanning twenty categories.

—by Jesse Adams

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