Hey guys. Welcome to the awesome experience on university of pennsylvania
Thank you for having me.
So as you mentioned Penn is located in Philadelphia on the school’s size three undergraduate size is around 2400 people.
Paul Yeah yeah. Oh yeah. It’s that sort of mid-sized. Yeah it’s it’s a fairly midsize school in the school.
There are four main I guess schools. There’s a school of nursing or the business school which is the Wharton School the school of engineering and then the School of Arts and Sciences. So pretty much amongst these four schools you’ll find most undergraduates right. The campus itself is kind of located within the city but it’s also its own thing. So you’ve got this needle location where you’re kind of in the Penn bubble but you’re also in Philadelphia pretty good.
I love the place. It’s.
I’m both in the School of Engineering and the School of Arts and Sciences. So Ben is kind of known for this and it’s one of the things Ben prides itself in interdisciplinary learning.
OK so what students are kind of allowed to do is be a part of two schools or they call these programs do you want to keep going right.
So you enrolled in two of a very well known program called the Viper program. So would you like to talk us through that show.
So what Viper is is it’s an energy tree so it’s a energy research focused program which is hosted both within the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering.
Okay. So I myself when I first enroll was studying physics in the School of Arts and Sciences and mechanical engineering in the School of Engineering and I was kind of geared towards energy research and I understand that you moving out of that programming to another doing degrees actually.
Yeah. So over this past summer as part of the requirements of the viper program I was doing research on at 10 0 during my time doing research I realized it wasn’t doing something that I enjoyed too much okay.
And because of that I decided to drop the Viper program. Okay. And now instead of physics and mechanical engineering I’m studying economics and mechanical engineering.
Well yeah. So it’s still the same dual degree.
Yeah I guess different subjects is that I always say that that’s the beauty of American education you know you switch from physics to economics and how easy with a transition for you within college.
Yeah. So it was actually really interesting in my case.
So when I applied to Viper it was kind of my dream program. Okay. I personally felt only decision depend and I was. Very much into what Michael was supposed to be.
All guns blazing I was every. Like I don’t know like it was something I really wanted to do. So I went and I was super excited I was like this straight is awesome. But I think over time I realized that I don’t know it may not have been something I really enjoyed.
And like you said that’s the beauty of the American system. Once you realize that this may not be something for you it’s really easy to transition as something of something else and you may enjoy it.
And I remember just like within one week I had switched out of the viper program and out into all of the economics and it was just that quick wow.
Which is only fair because at 16 you really wanted to do energy so that’s and at 19 you don’t want to do it is only fair.
So Chris there could be some high school freshman watching this show at 15 16 years of age who thinking that they are really sure what they want to do when they get to college. But from your experience what advice would you give them.
Yeah I’d definitely say go into college kind of with an open mind. I mean that’s the way I approach and I think it really helped me out. And just go in and be prepared to try new things.
And as long as you do that I’m sure you have a good time.
So I kind of over and roll myself which I actually thought was great because I got to meet a lot of new people and a lot of different things.
So I guess one of the things I’m really proud of was this conference that I kind of organized.
It was called Open Innovation Conference and this was actually its first show. We brought in startups from all over the U.S. to come in and kind of give guidelines and talks to people at Penn students.
So one thing with the Penn culture is that it’s very entrepreneurial people are really engaged with innovation and that’s something a fan is really proud of.
And this conference is going to streamline the process basically help people with ideas kind of take it from the idea stage to an actual thought oh wow this fan Innovation conference that you spoke about sounds really exciting and I’m thinking as a sophomore How did you go about organizing this and calling in companies and all of that.
Yeah. So it was actually really hard to begin with. On the way we kind of approach should was we contacted pretty much all the panel loans with any interesting startups that they were working on a need for startups that you know they had.
And because Ben Alonzo really receptive and it really came to be so we got a lot of traction being bold.
And then once we had startups coming we could say that oh you know these are these startups coming and then we thought Ben this and then they were willing to sponsor us. Oh OK. And then we showed a company saying oh hey we’ve got these startups. We have Ben backing us. Would you like to support us as well. And by the end of it actually we had startups reaching out to us saying oh hey can we please come to our conference and that’s a sign of success.
I guess some other activities I’m involved with is this engineering challenge that I’m doing.
So what the Hyperloop basically is is it’s a new mode of transportation that was envisioned by Elan Musk Elon Musk is basically an innovator who is an entrepreneur. And also my idol. As a guy.
So the Hyperloop is is that the new mode of transportation that connects L.A. and San Francisco. And it’s supposed to be cheaper and more efficient than bought a plane and a car.
What’s also really cool about it is that it runs on renewable energy. So what it kind of is you have a tube in which there’s it’s almost a partial vacuum and inside this vacuum you have a capsule that kind of floats on acquisitions and just goes from one end to the other like a hockey puck.
So the challenge basically was Space X launch this competition challenging engineers to build the board that from one end to the other.
And I thought that was fantastic. Yeah so I jumped right into it. And that’s something I’ve been working on.
OK so you’ve put your team together put up their entry into the competition.
Yeah. So we’ve been competing in that contest.
We will actually be presenting our design in Texas in around 20 days from now.
Wish you luck on it. Thank you. Coming up in the project a meeting and like you said going into Texas I’m sure that needed some funding some support. Oh.
Yeah. So the challenge is actually completely I guess opportunity in the sense that I was just looking over space X’s Web site and then I found it. And from there we like I kind of started off with making a team that fell through immediately.
Oh I mean another team I fell through immediately as well okay. And just iterative processes we finally got something involved.
The only reason to be quite honest that we made it through this round is because of the support that we received from professors.
There were a lot of professors.
In fact probably the entire mechanical engineering department that knows about us and they’ve each contributed in their own way.
Like it to give us advice so we reach out to them with some technical difficulties and they’ve help us out. And even in terms of funding like you mentioned they’ve been nice enough to sponsor our travel back and forth.
So it’s been great. I mean they’ve been incredibly supportive and all we had to do was just come up with the initiative and they were there for us. Wow because this is big show for someone watching for a school.
Fairly large sized as fan for you to be able to make that breakthrough and make a mark get people contributing personal time and resources. It speaks a lot about the college.
If you have an idea of if you have an inclination to do something I can promise you that at end you will find people to support you whether it’s clubs whether it’s organizations but it’s professors you will find some sort of support apart from these which are primarily related to your media in some way.
Are you involved in any other activities on campuses?
Yeah. So I’m involved with the consulting club as well.
At been consulting is kind of a big thing. And it’s also something I’m holding at CERN. Consulting is actually a career path that I may be looking at in the future so that’s definitely something that I’ve really been heavily involved with.
So Krish band has this social I.V. bag.
So I guess it’s fairly true. I mean I visited a few other Ivy is not the name Howard but you know I’ve been a slightly more fun.
But yeah Penn is it’s a pretty social place. The people you find that are really the kind of people who study for five days a week a good study is really incredibly hard and for two days of the week I just having more fun than imagine you know just the whole day we’re just going having fun.
And it’s quite incredible. I don’t know how it’s sustainable but people are going to do it.
So for a student was probably sitting on the fence not so sure about entering Greek life is it a good place to be.
It kind of depends from person to person. In my case I know that I get distracted pretty easily and I know that if I’m surrounded by that kind of a culture I would kind of just flake off one day. So I decided against Jonathan’s life.
But again I know a lot of people who are incredibly smart who are involved in Greek life and still manage to do pretty well academically. So it’s just about how well you can balance that life.
So how do you say band is different from one of the other?
We are Penn students in general are the kind of people who you know like as I mentioned earlier.
Really go hard to party and really work hard to Penn is a great place for someone who really likes both sides of the spectrum who can go out three or four times a week and at the same time really do well academically and it’s quite amazing how you know you can do that but that’s the typical Penn student.
And I think that’s the biggest difference from the Ivies.
Philadelphia is such a vibrant city to live in so how do you engage with the city as students.
Yeah. So own Penn it’s actually fairly close to downtown but about 20 streets away from downtown. So you end up going there pretty often.
Philadelphia itself and even around Penn campus there are dozens and dozens of restaurants that is awesome.
It’s nice it’s cheap and it’s a campus hangout on downtown itself like people usually go around once a week on maybe even more often than that.
Yeah. So what’s your favorite food?
Oh all Mexicans. I love Mexican food and there’s tons of it. I’m really happy.
Another thing that Philadelphia is known for all its food trucks which are basically you know like move like it’s kind of like a hawk stand that you have you have food that’s fantastic.
And they sort of line up outside line outside and we’re like they’re like 40 just on Penn’s campus you can get all the food you want just from food trucks and it’s really cheap. It’s amazing.
I guess that is the most fun experience you had at on.
So during my freshman year we had actually going out and then we came back and we were all just sitting in my lounge. This was with all my hall mates and there was this roll of duct tape in front of us.
I was like so I kind of asked my friends have duct tape me against a wall. You asked for it.
Yeah I was kind of in the mood to do that.
I don’t know what I was thinking but we took like six loads of duct tape and they stuck me against a wall. And then when I was finally done I just completely frozen standing like that. Jesus Christ. And then my friends being lovely as they are they just left me alone. They just walked away from me. Well. Guys I need to get out of here.
What. Well I don’t know if that sounds like fun.
But thank you so much for being on the show and sharing all of this with our viewers. I’m sure they’re definitely going to look at pen in a new life after this.
They do know it is my pleasure and I really hope they do. Ben’s a great place and I’ve loved every minute of it. So I really encourage them to think about it. But yeah it’s been great talking to you.
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