FAU Grad, Entrepreneur Passionate About Helping People

Hannah Herbst

Hannah Herbst (Photo by Alex Dolce)

By brittany sylvestri | 12/17/2020

Hannah Herbst has accomplished more than some do in a lifetime – all before turning 20 years old. Her success has spanned over a five-year period while attending FAU High School, simultaneously earning a college degree at Florida Atlantic University. Today, Herbst will graduate magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in management information systems with a concentration in business analytics. 

“I first fell in love with science in seventh grade at A.D. Henderson University School,” said Herbst. “FAU has allowed me to grow in ways I never thought possible. I’m passionate about helping people and finding new ways of doing so.”

At the age of 15, Herbst was named the winner of the 2015 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. With help from a 3M scientist, Herbst created an ocean energy probe prototype, called BEACON, that aimed to provide a stable power source to developing countries by using untapped energy from ocean currents. 

“I was inspired by a pen pal living in Ethiopia who lacked a reliable source of power and electricity,” said Herbst. “I wanted to come up with a solution for her and her family to power water purification systems and much-needed medical equipment.”

In 2016, Herbst was featured on a live stream event on Discovery Education to talk about her experience as “America’s Top Young Scientist.” The following year, Herbst was named to the 2018 Forbes “30 Under 30” list in the energy sector. 

Herbst’s innovative mind then led her to study the properties of shark skin while working as an undergraduate researcher in FAU’s Biomechanics Laboratory under the guidance of Marianne Porter, Ph.D., assistant professor in Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

When a family member suffered from a healthcare-associated infection, the experience inspired Herbst to work on this invention – an antibacterial, reusable bandage that prevents the migration of multiple strains of deadly bacteria into the wounds of post-operative, hospital-based patients.

“Hannah is motivated, creative, and understands that setbacks in science and life are not bad, but rather a part of the learning process,” said Porter. “Her seemingly fearless approach allows her to innovate and create in ways that are and will continue to change the world.”

Herbst and her startup company, Tiburon Technologies, LLC, recently took first-place honors and a $10,000 cash prize in Florida Venture Forum’s Statewide Collegiate Startup Competition.

In her spare time, Herbst enjoys running and was a member of FAU High’s state champion track and field team.

Following graduation, Herbst plans to continue to build her startup company and research different ways of bringing products to market in order to help people.