Rewards and recognition are always a great incentive to encourage people to keep up good work. Yet when one of the world's most reliable business and financial news sources tips its hat to you, it is certainly an honour of a different kind.
Steve Meyers, 27, graduated from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology's (MI) first cohort with a postgraduate mechanical engineering degree last summer. He has also been recently named on Forbes Magazine's 30 ‘Under 30' achiever's list, in the energy category. Meyers currently works for Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia's national oil company, as a solar engineer. He was recognised by Forbes for "joining the state oil giant to help Saudi Arabia solarise its electric grid and save more oil for export".
Despite being the recipient of an honour most 20-somethings only dream of, Meyers remains humble about it. "Hopefully this recognition... will serve as a good sign for the necessity for solar and renewable energies in the modernising world," he said. "While I do greatly appreciate the recognition, it's no time to rest on my laurels. A great deal of work still needs to be done to bring renewable energy to the forefront of the global energy mix."
He said being named on the prestigious list only served to motivate him further to solve the hardest problem currently facing our planet.
The US native came to MI in Abu Dhabi in search of work experience as finding employment in the US had proved a difficult task without it. Meyers found that conducting solar energy research at MI would fill the criteria for related experience. However, it was cultural and educational experiences in the region that encouraged him to stay after graduation.
He did, however, have initial reservations about joining a start up university that had no track record with published research or proper laboratory facilities.
"This was initially a concern, but we were given partial ability to shape MI into what it is today and build our own research labs from the ground up," he said. "This is certainly something you would not get at an established university."
Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President of MI, believes Meyer's recognition illustrates the significance of the institution.
"The inclusion of one of our alumni in the highly acclaimed global list indicates the status of our high-calibre faculty and students," he said, "as well as the extent of our research thrust in areas that are deemed advanced in science and technology."
The self-professed science fiction fan spent his time at MI conducting research on a 100 kilowatt pilot concentrated solar plant made available to students. The unique plant tested the technological and construction feasibility of a new solar concentration method. It was Meyer's task to mathematically model and experimentally determine how efficiently the plant could concentrate the sunlight and thus, create electricity.
"I've always been a bit of a sci-fi aficionado [Star Trek mainly], and one of the major overarching themes is the ability to secure clean and regenerating energy sources," he said. "To be a part of this modern-day quest [trek] is certainly both personally and professionally satisfying."
However he also wisely chose to specialise in solar energy due to the anticipated future growth of the renewable energy sector, hence securing sustainable future employment.
"It seemed from most reports and industrial opinions the growth of the solar energy field was due for a huge surge in the coming 20-30 years," he said "So it was a good bet for long-term job stability."