Dylan Wootton, a senior biomedical engineering student at the University of Utah, is the project manager for the Hydroponic Team at Lassonde Studios. The team designs and builds hydroponic gardens inside the building, growing plants in nutrient rich water solutions. “We’re able to grow plants faster and in a more sustainable manner than through traditional agricultural techniques,” Wootton said. He finds working on the gardens to be calming as well as rewarding; he likes being able to see physical results of his hard work when the plants are grown.
When Wootton first heard about hydroponics, he saw it as an opportunity to bridge two of his interests: agriculture and technology. “I was born and raised inside an area where agriculture was very important to our community,” he said. Working on the gardens has also helped him realize how beneficial knowledge of computer science will be in developing new technologies, and helped influence his decision to pursue a minor in computer science and complete an emphasis in computing. After graduation, Wootton hopes to continue building new gardens and growing food, and possibly enter into a hydroponics consulting service.
In addition to Wootton’s work with the hydroponic gardens, he also works as an RA (residential advisor) at Lassonde Studios. He decided to become an RA because of one he had his first year, who was successful in creating and facilitating a very close-knit community. Wootton wanted to be able to facilitate the same kind of close community for other residents. “Some of my best experiences in college have been the late-night talks that I have with residents about their majors, hobbies, or passions. It’s quite rare to get access to such an eclectic group of people,” he said. Being an RA has been an opportunity for Wootton to be involved in the community at Lassonde Studios, connecting him to people and resources that he otherwise likely would not have been exposed to.
Find this article and a lot more in the 2019 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers and entrepreneurs.