From MIT Chemical Engineering to Tech Entrepreneurship: Meet Role Model Chris Davis

Kaleb J. Hill

While attending the 2015 ScienceWriters conference at MIT as a DiverseScholar fellow, I had the opportunity to interview Christopher E. Davis -- an up-and-coming role model for young African-Americans boys who are interested in STEM. I learned about Mr. Davis while researching MIT faculty member, Michael J. Cima who Davis worked for on a cancer diagnostic tool being developed at the Koch Cancer Institute. Professor Cima had a #SciWri15 #TinyNMR presentation about his latest invention which is a tiny wearable MRI that can detect hydration levels in individuals who are at risk for heart failure and other chronic health conditions.

A black MIT engineer who defies the status quo

Chris Davis is a chemical engineer who came from modest means. He graduated from a public high school in South Carolina that rarely saw its graduates go to such prestigious institutions as MIT.

When he began his academic career at MIT, Davis set his sights on being a neurosurgeon. However, this dream soon changed in his freshman year when he discovered the possibilities of a career in engineering. He had many opportunities to hone his skills as a future leader committed to creating solutions for individuals who are in need. As an undergraduate student, he served as a notes transcriber for MIT students with learning disabilities.

In the four years he spent as a MIT student, Davis worked in a military setting testing synthesized armor, assisted with the research and development of a novel eye drop solution for drug delivery, and founded two start-up companies -- CrayUP and GenOne Technologies.

Today, Davis serves a research engineer for Kibur Medical, a Cambridge, Massachusetts based biotechnology firm that is currently developing a diagnostic tool that will help healthcare providers treat all types of cancer.

Life outside of MIT

Davis and MIT mechanical engineer, David Orozco, both co-invented the patent-pending technology, CrayUp -- a 3D sculpting crayon designed for children. Outside of the research lab, Davis likes to stay busy helping entrepreneurs realize their dreams through his engineering firm, GenOne Technologies. At GenOne, he and Orozco assist start-up companies with all of the stages of researching, testing, and developing a first generation prototype.

Davis acknowledges that his unique MIT experience and the opportunities provided by this environment had an integral role in helping define his definition of a successful, budding entrepreneur. He would like to help other underrepresented individuals overcome the barriers to entry in their respective fields. Instead of specializing in a narrow topic this early in his career, Davis has chosen to learn about several fields and master them over time. He credits practice and tenacity to allowing him to overcome the barriers that typically cause other entrepreneurs to quit. Those are the traits of a true role model.

The citation for this article is:
K.J. Hill (2015) From MIT Chemical Engineering to Tech Entrepreneurship: Meet Role Model Chris Davis. DiverseScholar 6:1

Kaleb J. Hill is a nursing student at Delgado Community College and the president/CEO of FitnessFleet, Inc., a telehealth provider and biotechnology company based in New Orleans, LA. Mr. Hill is certified nursing assistant and community health worker who has worked with persons living with chronic illnesses in the clinical setting, as well as, in the public heath community for over nine years. Hill attended the ScienceWriters 2015 conference on a DiverseScholar NASW Diversity Travel Fellowship. Any opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

Originally published 27-Dec-2015

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