Born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I was raised by a mother from England and a father from India. From an early age, my parents instilled in me the value of empathy in understanding how others live their lives. They taught me to find something you are truly passionate about and to pour everything you have into fulfilling that passion. My first passion in life was baseball. It defined my childhood experience and guided my education decisions. My dream of playing baseball at the collegiate level was fulfilled when I was recruited to play baseball at Davidson College. However, I soon realized that I had bigger aspirations in life.
The Fall of my Freshman year at Davidson, Nicholas Kristof, the well-known New York Times op-ed columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, gave a talk on his book Half the Sky on campus. During the talk, Kristof spoke of something he called the lottery of life. He reasoned that we as humans have no influence on the situation we are placed in at birth and how that situation fundamentally frames the outcome of our lives. Kristof went on to argue that every single person sitting in that auditorium, by way of being associated with an institution such as Davidson, was a winner in that lottery. Though contentious as it evokes feelings of the ‘White Man’s Burden’, with such fortune, comes great responsibility. And such responsibility, Kristoff argued, should be used to build something that adds true value to people’s lives.
To this day, Kristof’s words have lived vicariously through everything I do. His message to the audience on that Fall night not only fundamentally changed the way I measure the value of my work, but also motivated me to use travel as the medium for empathetically understanding others’ challenges in life. One of my favorite quotes is "In order to be successful in life, one must become comfortable with being uncomfortable." In that capacity,while studying abroad in India I discovered my new passion in life of exploring innovative business models that at their core try to address some pressing social issue. That passion was further cultivated while interning with the Amani Institute in Nairobi, Kenya—a higher-ed startup attempting to equip next-generational talent with the skills they need to be successful in the social sector. It was further explored while backpacking Thailand in the Winter of 2015 and cherished while studying abroad in Shanghai during the Spring of 2015.
All of these experiences have cultivated a greater sense of empathy and understanding that I will continue to cultivate no matter what I do following my time at Davidson. On a daily basis, I further cultivate my passion via the Earth's Kids Foundation—a social enterprise I had the pleasure of founding during my travels in India. I have come to learn that I will only ever be satisfied in life by building something that adds true, sustainable value to others' lives.
I draw inspiration from individuals such as Nicholas Kristof, Bill Drayton and Yvon Chouinard—individuals who have all fought to challenge the status quo for an issue they care deeply about. I have a mild addiction to toasted-coconut ice cream and I believe it's always better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. The best piece of advice I've ever received came during my time in Kenya: Define what you are truly passionate about doing, become really good at that one thing, and then try to earn money from it, because if you love what you doing, you will be successful. I plan to graduate in May of 2016 with a degree in Political Science and I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do following my time at Davidson. And yet, saying that, I couldn't be more sure about my future.