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sonalkapoor@berkeley.edu

Kleiner Perkins Personal Statement

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I want to positively impact the world in a well-informed and creative manner. This goal has been shaped by one thing I’ve had extensive experiences with: empathy. Empathy has held many different meanings in my life. Growing up to parents who are Indian immigrants, I’ve always had two “normals”, my home and the outside world. Due to this, I became hyperaware of other people’s needs, and as a result, an empathetic thinker from a young age where I’d use empathy as a tool to better adapt to my differing environments. My parents also taught me the value of empathy in the way they raised me. They’ve taught me how to be grateful for my life, but more importantly, aware of other people’s situations in the world, through an emphasis on education and perspective. Lastly, empathy in my college years has provided the basis for my favorite subject, design. I’ve recently found my passions culminate under the branch of human-centered design, as I can apply my love of logic, art and creativity, and business-minded thinking towards one topic. Most importantly, design begins with recognizing a people problem, and that requires the direct practice of empathy. Therefore, my experiences with empathy, has informed my personhood, career goals, and the type of impact I want to leave on the world.

I’ve begun working towards this goal of leaving a positive, intelligent, and imaginative impact through different avenues. At Berkeley, by getting involved in organizations such as the Fung Fellowship (fellowship where students design for wellness solutions), pursuing concentrations in design and entrepreneurship, and practicing product design through personal projects, I’ve been able to explore different avenues of impact. One specific avenue that stands out is Project Patch. I began Project Patch over a year ago, after I came across Pins and Needles, an organization that teaches disadvantaged women in New Delhi, India how to sew and embroider, and achieve a degree of financial independence. After looking at their beautiful, intricate embroidery online, I thought others would be just as inspired by their work as I was; I felt compelled to help generate business for this community. From there I decided to buy their hand-embroidered work, and convert and sell the embroidery as iron-on patches. Since, I have been able to sell over 100 patches and patch products (etsy.com/shop/ProjectPatchShop), designed original patches, hosted pop-up shops, and created greater exposure for these women in India through marketing efforts. By designing with intention and resourcefulness, I have contributed to these women becoming self-sufficient within their own environment.

I’m enthused to look at yet another avenue, and be considered for such an opportunity as the Kleiner Perkins Design Fellowship, where the potential for impact is maximized amongst the resources and hands on, technical application. Given the opportunity to be a Design Fellow, I’d use my education, originality, and passion to solve problems with empathy, and cultivate this described deep and meaningful impact, into a reality.