I grew up in Deerfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. I graduated from Deerfield High School in 2018. I had a great experience at DHS, taking engineering courses and also thriving in DECA, a business club. When it came time for college, I was originally attracted to Duke because of its collaborative culture and flexible engineering curriculum. Attending Duke turned out to be a great decision. I am especially pleased by the way in which I have been able to refine my learning within the Pratt School of Engineering. In my first few semesters, I found that I enjoy the problem-solving aspect of engineering without really feeling at home within any of Pratt’s majors. So, I worked with a few professors and other students with similar interests to craft a custom major called Risk, Data, and Financial Engineering. In addition to my B.S.E. and I&E Certificate, I’m also pursuing a Minor in Finance. I’m hoping that my chosen academic path will allow me to learn how to frame problems and systematically design creative solutions in a technologically-advanced world. I decided to pursue I&E because I have always been intrigued by becoming an entrepreneur, and I have already been assisting my mom, who recently became an entrepreneur herself. I have thoroughly enjoyed my I&E courses so far, and they offer a welcome balance against my technical engineering courses. It was amazing to participate in the seminar-style, graduate-level Hacking for Conservation and Development as a first-year and begin to learn about the lean launchpad methodology. Social Marketing for Entrepreneurs completely changed the way in which I view social media, and Innovators’ Workshop was a great way to perform client-based work in the same vein as my first engineering course.
Outside of the classroom, I’ve had the opportunity to work on organized and self-guided entrepreneurial projects. After a lifetime of being an avid movie buff, I’ve recently become interested in creating films. I have found that movies can serve as both a vehicle for personal self-reflection and growth and also a catalyst for bonding. If I could contribute to even one movie that changes someone’s perspective, gives people a medium for forming connections, or just makes people laugh, I know I can have an impact on the world that long outlives me. In addition to working on a few personal screenwriting projects in collaboration with friends, I’m currently serving as an intern for Artistry Collective, a development company in Los Angeles.
In addition to my movie-related experiences, I have worked with organizations off-campus that have allowed me to refine my understanding of business models and financing. For one of I&E experiences, I interned at Raleigh-based search fund Simetra Operator Fund where I helped evaluate target companies for a future owner-operator team aiming to engage in “entrepreneurship through acquisition.” This experience highlighted the grit required to be an entrepreneur (before I even interned, they evaluated over 10,000 companies!). I also discovered the critical role of highly specialized businesses, often small startups, in fueling the economy. I also interned with Manhattan-based MD Global Partners, where I helped small businesses perform synergistic mergers and access funding to help them survive COVID-19. All of my experiences have underscored my enjoyment of creative work, to which I bring a unique quantitative background in financial and engineering concepts; I hope to someday combine my passions and found an analytics-driven entertainment company with my brother, who shares similar interests. In the meantime, I hope to continue refining my technical skills and learning to evaluate industry trends, all while dedicating time to engaging in the world around me to give me inspiration for my writing projects.
In addition to movies, I enjoy exploring the outdoors, playing on unique mini golf courses, and Milwaukee Bucks basketball (Deerfield’s position north of Chicago allows for easier access to Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum than to the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls). One of the best habits I’ve picked up at Duke is meditation, thanks to the Koru Mindfulness program. I believe the practice of meditation will definitely contribute to my future success as an entrepreneur, as my ability to be mindful will allow me to make rational decisions and exhibit resilience through difficult periods.