I was going to keep some of the more major things I’ve been doing at college under wraps, but in light of a series of events that have occured back home I feel the need to stop being so abstract and “wise man” like and show maybe proof that the sky’s the limit regardless of “this, that, and the third”. Hopefully I don’t sound like I’m gloating…but I am. Just kidding, hah.
So maybe we should kick it off with my high school year.
January 1st passed, just like you guys now, all my applications are done and I’m feeling overly relieved. Between my schools it was a whole bunch of business schools: Washington & Lee, Uni. of Virginia, Uni. of Richmond, and Babson. And then there was the Rhode Island School of Design. I know!! Complete 180 from all of the schools I’ve applied too, but that was my sort of crazy, not-secure school that I would go to if I decided to pursue my more creative dreams.
Well the rest is history as they say, but it’s actually more like a long story I’m going to explain in my blog.
I never went to RISD as you know, hah, I was too scared to follow that route, but to serve as a medium I went to Babson, which I thought would be nice because Boston is right there and a big city means big opportunities. Oh good lord I forget to mention that at that time and currently still, I was/am passionate [is that too corny of a word to use?] industrial design/product design. Industrial design is basically the creation of new products. Some of your favorite companies have a huge emphasis on design: Apple, BMW, Fender, etc. You get the gist.
Right anyway, so I’m all gung-ho about design so I email the professor, Sebastian Fixson, in charge of this really cool class at Babson called Product Design & Development. So I email him once I decided on going to Babson. We remained in correspondence all throughout the summer, and after the first week of college I email him again and we set up a time to just talk about everything. So I meet him and I’m trying to exude my passion as much as possible, and let me remind you meeting him was a HUGE thing for me – I had already planned on sitting in on his PDD class. Anyways we talk about everything and he offers me a seat in the course!!! This just put a smile upon my face because even though I wouldn’t get credit I would learn something, which I did, and I also created a few important relationships. Right also this course was a 3 school joint program with Babson College for business, Olin College for engineering, and the Rhode Island School of Design – HOW COOL THAT EVERYTHING COMES BACK 360 [actually I knew about the class before I came].
Check out more from the class here
Anyways I sit in on the class and [this part always makes me laugh] it’s full of 3rd years & 4years and I introduced myself and I said I was a 1st year at Babson and I picked business over RISD and they all laughed at me. Woot! So I sit in on other classes and I even got to go to RISD, which is absolutely beautiful by the way, and I met a man named Tim Prestero of Design That Matters. A quick aside, DTM is a non-profit that produces products that are actually of use to people in 3rd world countries such as medicial devices.
Tim had this really interesting project where students would be making a phototherapy unit to help fight hyperbilirubinemia/jaundice in newborns [you can find out more here and click around that is only one type of HB]. If there are any parents, you know how this works. The jaundiced baby/baby with hyperbilirubinemia is placed under a blue light [yes blue light is all it takes] and in a few days the problem is gone. Well this project was of particular interest to me because it was to be made in Vietnam and first implemented in Vietnam, my home country. As you know, Vietnam is not so rich, and the best phototherapy units, such as the neoBlue, cost up to $10,000 USD. Yeah that’s not working for a third world country.
I approached Tim and we exchanged information and I email him a few days later seeing how I could help even though I was a first year. He then directed to the Babson MBA graduate students who were working on this. I emailed them, and then I met Shilpi Gupta, Molly McDonald, Lara Clemenzi, Rahul Bhansali, & Prakash Bhatia the students on the project. We met over the course of the semester and worked on a design that would fit the culture [even my mom helped!]. Well long story short, the final product matched the best phototherapy unit on the market, the neoBlue, on output and the product lasts, about, 10,000 hours. And guess what? The creation of the product only takes $400 USD. Labour expenses will raise the cost of the unit once it starts becoming manufactured in Vietnam, HOWEVER, everything should remain will under $1000 USD. Also, by the time the product was in the design fair at Babson, there were already 300 orders for it.
Here are photos:
This is Praks with our baby. And our finished design.
I am completely honored to have worked with these people, they are nothing short of amazing. Something major come from practically nothing. Even if you’ve got a million to one shot, you’ve still got a shot.
“The most powerful weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire” – Ferdinand Foch,