Published: Jan. 18, 2018

Current PhD student James Harper spoke at the TEDxYork School event recently about "The Human Side of Development." Check out his YouTube video.

What happens when a mechanical engineer decides he no longer wants to build weaponized drones for the military? James shares his transformation into an engineer designing solutions to support the developing world.  James Harper is motivated by what can change the world. Trained as an engineer, experienced as a STEM educator and a mechanical design engineer, and aspiring to be an applied sociologist, James focuses on engineering sustainable societies in developing communities and educating youth in the western world about related topics.  He's worked primarily on infrastructure development projects in rural India and Cambodia, and his ongoing PhD research will take him back to Cambodia to study how human behavior affects sanitation infrastructure.  Outside of work, he's volunteered extensively for mountain rescue and enjoys hiking and traveling with his wife and two rescued pit bulls. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at