After honing his business skills in the iMBA offered by the University of Illinois on Coursera, Chris Moriarity turned his idea into action, founding The Million Waves Project, a nonprofit organization that recycles plastic from the ocean into prosthetic hands for people who need them. Read an excerpt from an his recent interview about his work with Illinois’ Gies College of Business below:
“It’s serendipity. Being part of the iMBA program has helped change how I run The Million Waves Project and how I present it to others. Now I know all the probabilities and production frontiers. I’ve been helping other people run their businesses for a long, long time, but I learned more about stats through this iMBA program than in my entire previous careers. Now I can prove all the things I was saying.”
Moriarity conceived the idea of The Million Waves overnight in April, and two weeks later, it debuted. The project takes reclaimed ocean plastic and used it to 3D-print custom prosthetic limbs for children. The project currently has produced 16 limbs across the world, the first prosthetic hand will be given to a 9-year-old Seattle girl on July 17.
He had been searching for an iMBA program for “years and years and years,” and said he chose Gies’ because of its high ranking and because it conformed to his Midwest roots.
“I feel like Illinois was a choice that I made 100 percent myself, and I picked the school because that’s what I wanted,” Moriarity said. “It was a perfect fit for my lifestyle and something that was in line with my cultures and my beliefs. . . . I’ve always been confused by people that treat their education like a punishment. How lucky am I that I’m able to get a new skill set while I’m doing all these other things that I want to do.”
You can also learn more about his incredible work in this brief video that appeared on Seattle’s King 5 news station: