Student: Angel Rafael Rodriguez III
Major: Creative Media & Film
Mentor: Bill CarterOURCA Program: Student Travel Award
Refining Rough Cuts Through OURCA’s Student Travel Award
Film Professor Bill Carter and student researcher Angel Rafael Rodriguez III took a trip to Botswana during the spring semester, and captured shifting tides in the diamond industry. Historically, resource-rich countries in Africa have had those resources taken by foreign entities, quickly removing economic opportunity from Botswana.
HB Antwerp is a company aiming to change the way that diamonds are mined and processed so that Botswana can reap more of the economic benefits of this industry. After all, Botswana mines 30% of the world’s diamonds. The two major goals of HB Antwerp are to increase transparency in the diamond industry by logging all transactions in the Blockchain, ensuring that the logged histories of these diamonds cannot be tampered with. In turn, the hope is that the diamonds will more easily be kept within the country of origin before eventually being sent to the end consumer.
These methods were stress tested by members of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s executive MBA team, whose research in Botswana focused on seeing how practical the business model could be. This team, in turn, was captured by the NAU duo of Professor Carter and undergraduate student Angel Rodriguez. The documentary is an example of the once in a lifetime opportunities that can arise from doing research and engaging with concepts outside of the classroom. Rodriguez’s trip was funded in part by the Office of Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity’s Student Travel Awards program, which allows for students to travel for purposes of engaging in, or presenting, research and/or creative projects.
The end result is a great overview into the thought processes of HB Antwerp, the MIT executive MBA team, and some of the government officials of Botswana. See the documentary for yourself on YouTube or read the feature in The NAU Review.
Published 1 September, 2023.