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Foldable Solar Cell

Combining Two Passions: Engineering and Origami

Mentee Profile

As an 11th grader at a private Catholic school who had taken all of her school's advanced STEM offerings, Ellen hoped to use her mentorship to engage more deeply with her interests. In particular, she was interested in engineering and the "science of folding", having already created an original website to feature her origami.

Mentee Goals

Expand her theoretical understanding of physics and gain practical engineering skills needed to create a prototype

Combine her passion for origami with her interest in engineering in an original, innovative hands-on project that could be extended for her senior year independent project

Learn effective ways to approach a problem in search of a solution through engineering in a long-term STEM project

Mentor Match

With a PhD in particle physics and a law degree, Ellen's mentor was uniquely equipped to support her deep dive into engineering and science, while explaining the process of creating original, patentable inventions.

Custom Curriculum

Skill Development

Ellen learned practical skills and knowledge needed to create her prototype, including soldering, circuitry and wiring.


Ellen and her mentor began by developing and refining a design for her prototype, based on other solar cell models that have employed the Miura-ori folding technique.

Final Project

Ellen continued to refine and work on her prototype during the school year, culminating with her senior independent project in the spring. She plans on engaging in "more intensive engineering" on her design as a student at Harvey Mudd.


Students self-reported large gains in:

Accomplishing a personal goal

Research skills

Readiness for college-level work

Increased academic self-confidence

Vist project website

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Hugo has run hundreds of mentorships across dozens of fields.  Each of them are unique and designed around the students background, goals and interests.  Below are some of the final projects students developed during their mentorships.

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