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Renee Wang

Renee Wang

2023 Davidson Fellow
$25,000 Scholarship

Age: 16
Hometown: La Jolla, CA

Outside-the-box: “Rubix Living - Deconstructable Prefabricated Tiny Homes for Homelessness”

About Renee

My name is Renee Wang. I am a rising senior at the Bishop’s School in San Diego California.

I am the most passionate about homelessness and environmental sustainability. My personal strengths and interests fall into design and innovation. Being a Davidson Fellows Scholar, as well as a Rise Global Winner and one of the 25 most remarkable teens in San Diego, I will continue to explore my own unique path to make an impact. In my spare time I play competitive golf and love to make art and read, and am very involved in organizations championing homelessness outreach and environmental justice and awareness.

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"I am very honored and humbled to be selected as a 2023 Davidson Fellow Scholar. Becoming a Davidson Fellows Scholar validates my work on RUBIX, and this approval from experts in the field motivate me to to continue developing it in the future."

Project Description

Homelessness is a huge crisis nationwide. The current sheltering system is failing because …. Rubix is a tiny home prototype that I developed to help the unhoused to live off the streets with independence and dignity. Inspired by Lego bricks and the Rubik’s Cube, Rubix can be assembled by interlocking 10 prefabricated components. Unlike any other prefabricated homes currently available in the market, its innovative modular concept makes manufacturing, transportation, and installation cheaper, faster, and more efficient. To minimize the environmental impacts, it not only applies bamboo and recycled plastics as its main construction materials, but also runs on solar power and an independent plumbing system. Rubix aims to offer a better solution than the current sheltering solutions in terms of cost, time, and sustainability.

Deeper Dive

RUBIX is a tiny home prototype designed to help the unhoused get off the streets and live with independence and dignity. It is a cheap, fast, efficient, and eco-friendly prefabricated product that offers a better solution than current sheltering solutions. Its innovative modular concept, as well as the sustainable applications of material and energy technology, makes it unprecedented in the market. The recently worsened state of homelessness and the lack of efficient solutions, especially during and after the pandemic, urged me to create the project.

I found myself battling with multiple design and engineering obstacles throughout the development process as RUBIX involves many different fields. For example, drawing design layouts, calculating solar consumptions, building a plywood model, and finding a waterproof sealant technologies each allowed me to acquire new sets of knowledge and skills. I had to constantly learn new things and often had to reach out to my mentors and, through them, reach the experts in different fields for guidance. But the ultimate breakthrough moments brought a lot of satisfaction and joy. I also found it challenging, but uniquely rewarding to overcome my initial fear and prejudice to conduct interviews in the unhoused community. When I cast my previous prejudice aside and listened to their stories face-to-face, I not only managed to collect the appropriate data for the development of my project, but was also graced by their positivity, resilience, and kindness through the trials and tribulations of their lives. It was these individuals who inspired me, motivated me, and compelled me to overcome any difficulties.


If you could magically become fluent in any language, what would it be?

I would love to become fluent in French! I think it's a gorgeous language. 

What is your favorite tradition or holiday?

My favorite holiday is Chinese New Year. It offers such an amazing opportunity for me, as a Chinese girl living in the States, to be completely immersed in my own culture, language, family, and friends. The food is also a nice bonus. 

What is your favorite hobby?

I really enjoy playing golf! I used to play competitively in tournaments, but am now trying to slow down, play the game recreationally, and really enjoy my time on the course. The game has been the reason for many of my personal core values. 

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In The News

San Diego – The Davidson Fellows Scholarship Program has announced the 2023 scholarship winners. Among the honorees is 16-year-old Renee Wang of La Jolla. Wang won a $25,000 scholarship for her project, Rubix Living - Deconstructable Prefabricated Tiny Homes for Homelessness. She is one of only 21 students across the country to be recognized as a 2023 scholarship winner.

Download the full press release here