Pete Marchetto was a Homestead student during some of his most formative years, during which time he told his parents, “Mom, Dad, it’s my destiny to be a scientist.” Over three decades later, he holds a PhD from Cornell University in Biological and Environmental Engineering, and has worked as a professor of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering (a fancy name for Agricultural Engineering) at the University of Minnesota, where he still has an affiliation as graduate faculty.
Currently, Pete works on designing, building, testing, breaking, and fixing environmental sensing systems for the FieldKit project at Conservify, a not-for-profit organization bent on changing the way that the public has access to environmental data and the means to acquire it. He is most at home with a hammer or soldering iron in his hand, and moved back to NY from Minnesota to be back in his home forests of Sullivan and Orange County. He and his wife Katie are currently shaping up a homestead of their own, Warbling Pines, in Forestburgh with knowledge from their technological and ecological backgrounds.
He has taught at levels from grade school to graduate courses, both virtually and in person. He believes in the line from the Done Manifesto by Kio Stark and Bre Pettis: “People without dirty hands are wrong; doing something makes you right,” and strives to teach through hands-on instruction whenever possible.
Among the things Pete is most passionate about teaching are the ways in which everyday things are made, what engineering choices go into them, the science behind these choices, and how to fix things that are broken. Some of the highlights from his teaching and research career thus far include:
- Getting a room of famous scientists to play a game of telephone to demonstrate a concept in information theory
- Helping to build a makerspace at the University of Minnesota
- Bringing high school students to present their work at an international scientific conference
- Applying Montessori teaching techniques to university classes
“Go forward, move ahead; try to detect it, it’s not too late.” – Mothersbaugh and Casale, 1980