Megan Schuknecht, MS 2004

megan schuknecht and her son theo

Scaling Nature Inspired Innovation

Home:

Megan grew up in the small town of Chilton in eastern Wisconsin and now lives with her husband and son in Missoula.

Present Title:

Director of Design Challenges at the Biomimicry Institute

Her Passion:

“I’m passionate about so many things,” says Megan. “When I started in EVST, I was thinking about a more traditional science career where research would lead to policy and then to action. But I was also really interested in environmental justice issues. What I learned is that working with people is a better fit for me. I’m really interested in the bigger view and the interconnectedness of issues. For example, food issues. In EVST, I learned how broken our food system is. It’s not just land that’s impacted by industrial agriculture, it’s the people who grow our food, the people who process our food, and of course, the people who eat the food. I’m also interested in land issues in Montana and of course climate change because it affects everything. Regional solutions are important, because you can see the power of people working together and actually see progress on the ground.”

Accomplishments:

Megan has accomplished so many things at The Biomimicry Institute (TBI). Her most recent project is developing the Biomimicry Launchpad. Designed to help biomimetic solutions advance beyond the concept stage, this intensive 12-month program assists winning teams in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge (BGDC) to further develop their design concepts and market strategy. One team is then awarded the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize®. The BGDC, that Megan directs, is an annual global competition that invites university students and professionals to address critical sustainability issues with nature-inspired solutions. Megan’s early work at the Institute involved building the university education program including the Biomimicry Education Network and the Biomimicry Fellows Program that recognizes faculty who are integrating biomimicry into their degree offerings and curricula. In addition, Megan played a critical role in helping develop AskNature, the world’s most comprehensive catalog of nature’s solutions to human design challenges. AskNature’s curated online library features free information on over 1,800 natural phenomena and hundreds of bio-inspired applications and boasts over a million users. Prior to joining TBI in 2007, Megan worked on the sustainable agriculture and sustainable communities programs at the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT).

What Others Are Saying:

"Megan is wonderful to work with and has exceptional expertise in biomimicry, sustainability, leadership, and program management. She is innovative, result-oriented, creative, open minded, knowledgeable and always aims for excellence all the time," says Jacques Edouard Chirazi, the founder of Biomimicry Switzerland and Biomimicry San Diego and the Innovation and Commercialization Manager at TBI.

What Megan Says About EVST:

“I learned so much about the breadth of issues from not only the faculty, but also my fellow students at EVST who brought their rich life experiences,” says Megan. “The EVST program offered much more than just a classroom experience. We had so many experiences on the ground, talking to people on the front lines of issues and getting into the landscapes we were studying. Those experiences were invaluable to my education.”