BESTie Ryan Shelby wins Berkeley’s Bingham Award

BEST Lab and Development Engineering alumnus Ryan Shelby (PhD’13 ME) was honored with UC Berkeley’s prestigious Mark Bingham Award for Excellence in Achievement by Young Alumni, conferred by Chancellor Carol Christ at the 2022 Berkeley Charter Gala on May 12.

The award commends a young alum who graduated within the last 10 years who has made a significant contribution to their community, country, or the world at large. The award pays tribute to Berkeley alumnus Mark Bingham ’93, who died on September 11, 2001, defending the United States on United Airlines Flight 93.

Ryan Shelby is a Career Diplomat and Supervisory Foreign Service Engineering Officer serving within USAID/Southern Africa since 2019. In this role, he serves as the main infrastructure and construction expert for 15 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2019, he received the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal for National Security and International Affairs for his earlier position in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. The “Sammies,” considered the Oscars of government service, recognized Shelby for providing “vital training and resources to help people in Haiti rebuild thousands of homes and roofs ripped apart by a Category 4 hurricane.”

Shelby received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Berkeley Engineering in 2013 and was  an exemplary student in our Development Engineering program, which was just emerging at that time as an academic discipline. Shelby now serves on the Advisory Board of Berkeley’s new Master of Development Engineering program, launched in 2021 and graduating its first cohort this December.

“Ryan’s career and contributions model the ethos of Development Engineering – community-based problem-solving and accountability along with creative tech innovation and know-how,” says Alice Agogino, Blum Center Education Director and Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering since 1992, who first met Shelby in 2005, as a junior from Alabama A&M in the Berkeley Edge program.

Shelby was one of two recipients recognized with the Bingham award this year. The other was National Women’s Soccer League striker Alex Morgan Carrasco ’14 L&S. Past Berkeley Engineering alums who have received the Bingham award include Christopher Ategeka ’11, M.S. ’12 (2021) and Connor Landgraf ’13, M.Eng. ’14 (2016).
Development Engineering was founded at the Blum Center for Developing Economies at UC Berkeley in 2013 as a Graduate Group led by Blum Center Education Director Alice Agogino, a member of the Berkeley Engineering mechanical engineering faculty since 1992. DevEng has since grown into a widely recognized field of research and practice that combines engineering with economics, entrepreneurship, design, business, natural resources, and social science to create technology interventions with and for individuals living in low-resource settings.

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