Photo: Pat Piasecki
Mancha makes sure that the IT courses he teaches are very hands on. “We don’t just talk about technology,” he says. “We build stuff.”
In his office, Mancha keeps many of his students’ prototypes (1), which are made by placing hardware components inside cardboard boxes and old takeout containers. One prototype can be added to a drone and used to measure humidity and temperature, while another can be placed on a pile of grain and, by detecting sound patterns, notify a farmer of an infestation.
Mancha’s research interests include looking at digital technologies in entrepreneurial settings and the social impact of emerging technologies such as blockchain. To perform that research means doing lots of writing, and Mancha keeps in his office an old typewriter (2), which once belonged to his wife’s grandfather. Mancha doesn’t actually use the typewriter, but its presence serves as a reminder of the hard yet rewarding work of the writing process. “It brings me down to what matters: just pressing the keys,” he says.
Mancha also keeps on a shelf a little statue that he made of a stargazer (3). “It’s a reminder to never stop wondering,” he says. “Curiosity keeps us alive.”