Engineering an Oasis
Growing up in India, Sid Nigam ’16 saw plenty of food insecurity and malnutrition. At UNH, the mechanical engineering student channeled a passion for sustainable, affordable food into a project that took him and his team to Costa Rica, Glasgow and the podium at UNH's Undergraduate Research Conference. For Project OASIS, Nigam and an interdisciplinary team of student collaborators created a small scale aquaponics system that grows vegetables without soil symbiotically with fish. Thanks to a Summer Seed Grant from UNH’s Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center, Nigam, Paige Balcom ’16 and Ethan Pirie ’17 worked to expand the scope of Project OASIS as a start-up focusing on domestic customers. As Nigam and Balcom pursue advanced degrees — Nigam at the University of Colorado in computational fluid dynamics; Balcom in mechanical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley — the project continues under Pirie’s leadership. The Project OASIS team members were among more than 1,800 students who showcased their research, scholarship and creative works at UNH’s 2016 Undergraduate Research Conference, the largest such event in the nation.