What do you get when you mix idealism and drive with some serious brainpower? Meet Nyan Lin Htet, Proximty’s newest Product Designer and solar energy enthusiast.
“When I was very young, I saw solar cells in CASIO calculators, and once I saw a book about solar energy in English. At the time, I couldn’t read it, even though I was very interested,” Nyan Lin Htet recalls. His passion for renewables didn’t take off until the final year of his engineering studies in the Myanmar Maritime University. Nyan Lin Htet is the kind of person who’s always looking for the next challenge, and that final year of school he stumbled across an essay contest on low-carbon societies of the future. The exhaustive research he carried out for his submission made Nyan Lin Htet aware both of the urgency and the potential for emerging technologies to alleviate some of the world’s most pressing problems.
As a recent graduate, however, there were few opportunities in his home country, and Nyan Lin Htet accepted work in oil and gas in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi. His ideals eventually won out and brought him back to Yangon, where he embarked on an online course on solar energy at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Nyan Lin Htet spent at least three hours every day studying complicated equations and learning about semiconductors, as well as solar cells and solar systems, all the while bearing with power outages and extremely slow internet. Out of the 57,000 people who signed up for the course, he received one of the top 35 scores, and was one of four students selected to visit Delft University for a one-week workshop. The visit had a huge impact on him, and made it clear that he had to find a way to align his values and his work. So, Nyan Lin Htet set about researching the solar landscape in Myanmar while participating in a “Startup Bootcamp.”
It was around this time that Proximity’s workshop first got a call from an inquisitive young man requesting data about our renewable energy lanterns. “I had attended many meetings and conferences about social business, so when I learned that Proximity was a social enterprise with a design lab I was so excited,” he explains. It wasn’t long before Nyan Lin Htet joined Proximity, where he fits right in as a product designer. “The Product Design Team is unique in Myanmar,” he says, “here, every member has different ideas and everybody is allowed to think outside of the box and to think creatively.”
Already, Nyan Lin Htet has helped the team design a solar panel stand that positions panels at the optimum angle given Myanmars northernmost and southernmost latitudinal locations. Additionally, since he joined Proximity he's been awarded a highly selective scholarship to join a five-week US exchange program at the end of June where he will discuss global environmental issues with other YSEALI members and environmental experts at the University of Montana. When he returns, Nyan Lin Htet looks forward to helping the Design Team and Proximity develop products and services which bring unique energy and environmental value to customers.
Tireless and positive, Nyan Lin Htet is determined to become a successful social entrepreneur one day, and we can’t wait to see where his mix of strong ideals, initiative, and intelligence, take him.