Tashia Tucker, 39
MS interior architecture & design ‘12
CEO/founder, Olombria (London)
Tashia Tucker’s company motto is “pretty fly.” Indeed, she is all about the flies — the underrated pollinators of planet Earth. Tucker is CEO and founder of Olombria, a London-based biodesign company focused on insect pollination. The declining bee population has sounded the alarm about the threatened future of 75 percent of food crops that benefit from insect pollination. Tucker’s inspiration came when she learned that hoverflies are already the main pollinators in urban environments and represent 30 percent of pollination worldwide. But unlike bees, hoverflies are easily distracted from their work. Enter Tucker’s process, which uses advanced recognition technology, A.I. and modified behavior to lure flies to flowers needing pollination. Olombria is conducting lab trials and field trials in berry patches in Britain and early results, Tucker says, are very promising. Tucker credits the Design Future Lab at Drexel, where she worked as a senior researcher from 2013–2016 while also working as an adjunct professor, with introducing her to biodesign – the incorporation of living organisms as essential components in design. Olombria was an outgrowth of Tucker’s entry in the 2017 international Biodesign Challenge as a graduate student at the Royal College of Art in London. A dream of Tucker’s was fulfilled when she presented her design at a ceremony at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Then, in 2019, she was named one of the Top 10 Women in Tech by the Mayor of London’s TechInvest. Tucker’s work, which also builds pollination data for farmers, attracted the attention of Prince Charles of Wales and Prince Albert II of Monaco — two royals with deep interests in the environment and sustainable food production. In 2020 Prince Albert presented Tucker with the top prize at CleanEquity® Monaco 2020, the forum for sustainable technology innovation.
In her own words…
My Greatest Accomplishment: I am constantly searching for new ways to learn and grow. I think my greatest accomplishment is still yet to be achieved.
How Drexel Helped Me: Drexel helped to create my foundation in design thinking. My degree program instilled the discipline and resiliency to pursue innovative ideas fearlessly and explore how design can change the world.
What Success Looks Like to Me: Life is inevitably filled with ups and downs. Success is the ability to weather the storm with grace and empathy.
How the Past Year Has Influenced Me: The pandemic has reminded me to cherish the ones I love and spend time doing the things that bring you joy.
My Top Post-Pandemic Plan: My top plan is to travel.