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'FOR A BETTER WORLD': Aggie engineering student prepares for convention tackling global issues

Posted at 5:01 PM, Feb 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-16 18:01:15-05

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — 22-year-old Michael Xu told 15 ABC’s Chris Talley that engineering is in his blood.

“When you’re raised in that kind of environment with both of your parents being engineers and them encouraging you to study it, it’s a natural choice,” Xu said.

Michael is months away from wrapping up his senior year at the Zachery Engineering School at Texas A&M.

“I wanted to have those technical skills to make the changes I wanted to see in the world," he said.

These are changes that the Aggie senior is getting the chance to solve on his own.

Michael is one of more than 300 students from 38 universities nationwide that are coming to Texas A&M for the “Invent for the Planet” convention.

They will be competing to provide solutions for global issues — issues he’s ready to start solving to build a better world.

“Events like this are very important — it brings universities from across the world together to solve problems like this," Xu said.

"There are global problems, but it’s not just something students at Texas A&M can tackle alone.”

Chris Finberg, the university's Innovation Director, told 15 ABC’s Chris Talley that this year’s convention topic involves how to produce clean water.

“Often in middle to low-developed economies they often use water that is targeted for agriculture — almost 91 percent," Finberg said.

"Here in the U.S., it’s only 41 percent — we have to address not only fresh water usage but how we can effectively clean the water that’s already there to help those populations.”

While graduation is near for Xu, he intends to pass his knowledge to Aggies of the future.

“I think this is a great opportunity for me to kind of share some of the skills I’ve learned within these programs with my underclassmen," he said.

"A lot of things I’ve picked up here I want to be able to pass down.”

More information on "Invent for the Planet" can be found here.