Past Member

Nicole Bakker

Former Research Assistant
  • Sculpting Evolution
  • MAS Affiliated Research Assistants

Nicole Bakker is a graduate research assistant supervised by Kevin Esvelt (Sculpting Evolution group), co-advised by Christine Ortiz, Ellen Spero and Elsa A. Olivetti at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE).

Her master's thesis research is at the intersection of renewable energy and materials science, with a specific focus on solar energy. Aiming to predict the material recovery potential from discarded solar photovoltaic (PV) panels up until the year 2100, this work combines quantitative modeling (through Material Flow Analysis) and materials characterization with retrospective analysis of solar cells, covering almost a century of technology. 

With a Fulbright scholarship, Nicole graduated from the Master in Design Engineering at Harvard University in 2018, where she was awarded the Peter Rice Prize for Excellence in Structural Design. She holds an undergraduate degree in structural engineering (with honors). In 2013, Nicole published  her first book, titled Photovoltaics in Historical Built Environments—Interactive Design Manual. 

Outside of academic work, she is a mentor at the MIT MakerWorkshop, co-organized the first two editions of the Global Community Bio Summit, made a 12-foot tall AI-themed artwork (Clippy), and helped build the Living Knitwork pavilion.