A learning opportunity not to be missed: Big Bang!

Akshay Sethi has worked in the lab in the Department of Pharmacology.

Akshay Sethi has participated in various activities on campus, including working in a lab in the Department of Pharmacology. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis photo)

Akshay Sethi, a biochemistry and molecular biology major, has always had an interest in sustainability of life, which is what led him to want to pursue a career in medicine. Since arriving at UC Davis, he has realized that there are multiple avenues for improving the quality of life for society as a whole.

Last spring, Akshay was part of the AmberCycle team that made the finals of the Graduate School of Management’s Big Bang! Business Competition, designed to promote entrepreneurship at UC Davis and in the region. All five teams in the finals included second-year undergrads, including Ashkay, the first time that’s happened.

Team AmberCycle developed a system to degrade plastics so that they are cheaper and easier to recycle. It’s a meaningful pursuit to help reduce waste and clean up the environment, Ashkay says.

This idea came about after Akshay was involved in a research project dealing with biologically based technology that enables specific plastics to be degraded. With the success he achieved in the lab, he then sought out resources to make this technology applicable in the real world. And that’s how he eventually got involved in the Big Bang!

Now in his third year, Akshay, who is from Folsom,  continues to be in awe of the opportunities that have been made available to him on campus.

At UC Davis, we take pride in being able to offer our undergraduates valuable hands-on experience in the area of research. Because we live in an era of a constant change, we need more young innovators like Akshay to continue finding ways to improve ideas and concepts.

Big Bang! is an experiential learning opportunity for students, faculty, staff and alumni to learn how to develop a business. Experiences such as Big Bang! allow bright students to take what they’ve learned in the lab and apply it to the real world, and, in turn, improve quality of life.

The next Big Bang! competition kicks off this week and I encourage any of our students who have an interest or an idea to get involved.

The 2013-14 Big Bang! Kickoff is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. today (Oct. 9) in the AGR Room at the Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. More information is available here.

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