William Tarpeh

William Tarpeh

Cooke Scholar

William Tarpeh, a Cooke Young Scholar and College Scholar, has made it his mission to help solve major world sanitation problems. While over two billion people on Earth have limited or no access to clean bathroom facilities, his research at University of California, Berkeley focused on transforming sanitation and sustainability in these communities.

“I have a really central belief that potential is universal, but opportunity is not,” Will said in an NBC News profile about his work.

As a Cooke Young Scholar, Will attended Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. His interest in research and academic achievements led him to enroll at Stanford University as a Cooke College Scholar, where he majored in chemical engineering and African studies. Recently, he completed his Ph.D. at UC Berkeley, where his research aimed to develop ways to recycle urine into nutrient-rich fertilizer and serve as a valuable resource for creating sustainability through local farming.

Will’s work is helping the world reimagine urine, an otherwise overlooked resource, as a way to transform a fundamental development problem. His work has brought him to farming communities in Kenya, South Africa, and Mexico so far.

In the future, Will wants to bring his unique field experience back to the classroom, and teach others to continue solving complex humanitarian problems.