Pelkins is an entrepreneur and inventor. He was born in Limbe, Cameroon and graduated from high school with the highest score in the country in the Advanced Level. Afterwards, he immigrated to the US where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2018. In his junior year at MIT, Pelkins founded CassVita, a tech-enabled agribusiness that invented a novel technology for increasing the shelf-life of cassava – a highly nutritive but rapidly deteriorating tropical root vegetable – from 3 days to 18 months, disrupting the health and wellness food space while providing sustainable livelihoods to 500 farmers. Pelkins is an innovator at heart. Before founding CassVita, he developed several solutions for multinationals including Microsoft, McKinsey & Company, and General Motors, where he patented novel technologies for self-driving cars. His work at CassVita has been recognized with multiple awards including Albert G. Hill Prize (at MIT), Suzanne Berger Award for Future Global Leaders (at MIT), Harvard Innovation Labs Social Impact Fellowship Fund, Harvard Social Impact and Change Initiative (Cheng Fellowship), the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, as well as by multiple institutions including the New York Times, MIT School of Engineering, Harvard School of Engineering, and the European Union. Pelkins is currently pursuing a dual MS/MBA degree from Harvard School of Engineering and Harvard Business School.
CassVita Inc. is a tech-enabled CPG business that has invented a novel technology for increasing the shelf-life of cassava – a highly nutritive but rapidly deteriorating tropical root vegetable – from 3 days to 18 months, enabling the disruption of the global health and wellness food market.
Worked with McKinsey Center for Future Mobility to provide a forward-thinking and integrated perspective that helps industry leaders and policy makers lead change and navigate an increasingly autonomous, connected, electrified, and shared future.
Africa Learning Circle
The Africa Learning Circle (ALC) is the innovation and entrepreneurship arm of MIT's African Students' Association devoted to principled entrepreneurship with a rigorous study of the African continent. The ALC boasts of three companies/organizations operating in Cameroon, Nigeria, the US, and Ghana.
The Global Shapers Community is an initiative of the World Economic Forum. The ecosystem of extraordinary young people under 30 was launched in 2011 in response to the absence of young peoples' voices in global decision-making.
NUBIA: NeUral Based Interchangeability Assessor
Machine Learning Side-Project
Created a novel, state-of-the-art metric for evaluating similarity for text generation
Self-Driving Car Engineer
Patented a novel methodology for calibrating radars for self-driving cars which remarkably reduced calibration time from 8 hours to under 10 minutes
Relationship Between Wind Velocity and Orientation, and Faults in Electrical Network
Machine Learning Researcher
Made recommendations for prediction of instances of faults in the French electrical network using wind velocity and orientation data
3D Printing Assisted Fabrication of Soft Robotic Hand with Embedded Soft Electronic Circuits
Undergraduate Researcher and Inventor
Invented a novel approach for embedding printed, elastic circuits in soft robotic devices that won first prize in Soft Robotics competition organized by Harvard
Effect of Inclination and Distance of Stop Sign on Accuracy of Learning and Non-learning Algorithms
Investigated the effectiveness of different vision processing algorithms on the ability of a self-driving car to recognize stop signs
News feature on Harvard MS/MBA front page
Post feature by the U.S. Embassy in Yaounde
MIT student reflects on her internship experience at CassVita
News feature on front page of MIT website
Blog feature about CassVita on MIT Admissions website
Contribution towards revamping MIT ASA into award winning student organization
Interview (in French) by Cameroon Business Today
Cheng Fellowship | Harvard University
Harvard Innovation Labs Social Impact Fellowship Fund | Harvard University
Albert G. Hill Prize | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Suzanne Berger Award for Future Global Leaders | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
International Soft Robotics Design Competition First Prize | Harvard University John A. Paulson School
Guistwhite Scholar | Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society
National Best Student | Cameroon General Certificate of Education Advanced Level
PATENTS & CERTIFICATIONS
Radar Calibration Systems and Methods. P043767-US-NP (003.1622). Filed: 09/05/17. Published: 03/07/19.
Design for Six Sigma Green Belt Certification
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS & PRESENTATIONS
Protagonist – MIT Founder's Journey Class. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (October 2021).
Harvard Business School Perspectives from Africa. Online event. (May 20, 2021).
George Washington University Law School. Online event. (February 27, 2021).
National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Johns Hopkins University Post-grad Panel. Online event. (November 9, 2020).
PD Soros webinar for MBA applicants, Online event (July 29, 2020).
Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, Vancouver, BC (December 13 - 14, 2019) - presented side-project paper at Learning Meaningful Representations of Life workshop
Harvard Africa Business and Investment Forum, Cambridge, MA (November 9, 2019)
MIT SciTech Conference (IdeaThon Mentor), Cambridge, MA (April 19 - 21, 2019) - organized by MIT Arab Students' Organization
MIT Africa Innovate Conference, Cambridge, MA (April 14, 2019) - organized by MIT Sloan School of Management
Deep Learning IndabaX (Keynote Speaker), Yaounde, Cameroon (April 2 - 4, 2019)
Emerging Scholars Banquet (Keynote Speaker), Arlington, TX (December 1, 2015)