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Five from the University of Illinois Selected as Forbes 30 Under 30


Mike Koon, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Five with University of Illinois ties, including four from the College of Engineering, are among those named to Forbes list of 30 Under 30, which highlights the 30 brightest game changers, movers, and makers under the age of 30 in 20 different fields

The five Illinois honorees:

Phil Ansell (Science), 28, Assistant Professor, Aerospace Engineering

An aerospace researcher, Ansell’s lab is currently working with the Air Force and NASA to understand more about particular physics problems associated with wing design, in the hopes of developing the next generations of aircraft.

Qian Chen (Science), 29, Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering

Dr. Chen is a materials scientist who’s focused on the development of “soft matter.” These are materials that have their own “intelligence”–generating new products for drugs, power distribution and more. Her work could one day pave the way to a whole new class of materials that are self-replicating and can “evolve” on their own.

Nisha Chittal, 27, Manager of Social Media & Community, MSNBC

Chittal, who holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, has long been MSNBC's go-to expert on all things social media, where 30% of the visits to the site come through social media. Since joining MSNBC in 2013, she has helped re-launch, establish its presence on emerging platforms like Snapchat and Kik, and trained anchors, producers, and executives on social media best practices, MSNBC anchors, reporters, and producers on social media best practices both for reporting and audience engagement.

Scott Daigle  28, (Finance), Cofounder, IntelliWheels

Daigle earned both a bachelor of science and master of science degrees in mechanical science and engineering, and while attending Illinois, he designed a prototype wheelchair that used gear-shifting technology similar to that of a bicycle. He launched IntelliWheels in 2010 and shipped product two years later. The company generated $646,000 in revenue in 2015 and has attracted $2 million in growth capital to date. 

Patrick Slade (Healthcare), 21, Cofounder, Psyonic.

There are 11 million hand amputees in the world. 80% live in developing nations, where it’s difficult to get prostheses. Slade, an undergraduate student in mechanical science and engineering at Illinois, has developed artificial hands that are a tenth the cost of those current on the market--and incorporate sensory feedback. They’ve already been tried out in Ecuador and Chicago, and the company hopes for a broader rollout soon.