Multitasking on the Mountain

Man and woman standing on mountain

As he and his wife prepared to hike iconic Mt. Kilimanjaro to promote kidney organ donations in March, Ben Hawkins figured he could use the bucket list event to assist his product research.

Sarah and Ben Hawkins

Sarah Hawkins, a student affairs professional at Cal Poly, became a kidney donor herself in 2019, after discovering the father of an elementary school classmate had been on dialysis for six years and needed a transplant.  Now she’s a founding member of the Kidney Donor Athletes Board of Directors, who helped brainstorm The One Kidney Climb to show how active people can be after donating.

Ben, an assistant professor with a joint appointment between BMED and electrical engineering, hiked alongside his wife, which, he said, connects to research he has been working on with students to develop a selective electrolyte sensor – “something particularly relevant for athletes who process electrolytes differently,” he said.

The project has involved both BMED and EE students.

“We have lots of work ahead of us, but with luck, we can try testing some fabricated devices in fall,” he said.


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