Abel Sanchez, PhD


“i think we can learn anything. i don't think there is any difference between me and the guy that cuts my grass or the kids i grew up with in the developing world.”

It’s hard to get Dr. Abel Sanchez to talk only about himself; he’s constantly making connections to some bigger picture. What begins as a personal story quickly reveals a universal moral, anecdotes set up the context for a problem to be solved, and memories are a device in making a compelling argument for what we should be doing next.

He’s built his career on solving problems. That’s not the way many see scientists – as problem solvers – but in many cases that’s exactly what they are. For Dr. Sanchez, science is a tool by which we can make the world run a bit more smoothly and fit together a bit more neatly. It’s an equalizer that can give any individual a chance to make a difference if they’re willing to do what it takes.

So what does it take? Dr. Sanchez has a theory: curiosity, access, a problem that needs solving, and a little luck. He believes that showing up is the first step towards finding luck and pushing boundaries is the first step towards solving problems.

His knack for seeing links where many don’t may be rooted in his early childhood, traveling between Latin American countries – primarily Mexico – and finding the connections between people and communities. Now, he makes his living building connections for others through the Internet of Things.

His path has been riddled with poor grades, cultural barriers, and a lack of role models in science, but – of course, there’s a moral to the story – this all gave him the critical information he needed to be able to build tools for others.