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  • Writer's pictureBaker Institute Team

"If you do not see an opportunity, create it."

One of the groups presenting their ideas on how to aid Merchbar.

Taylor Pistone '21 | Toms River, NJ 

Major | IDEAS: Electrical Engineering and Cognitive Science

During the event tonight an alum introduced himself to me then asked what my major was. After explaining what I am studying and how I plan to pursue a PhD in neural engineering, he explained that there were a bunch of universities on the west coast that offered this. I spoke with him about how I doubted my abilities to get into those schools and he said look at me- you are good enough!

Then he gave me another piece of advice when I was nervous to go speak with someone about a potential connection. He advised me to get into an entrepreneurial mindset and just ask. After all, the worst that could happen is that the person says no. This is something I will take with me not for the next few days but for the rest of my career. Of course it will take awhile to get ingrained in my mind, but I will keep it in the back of my head as I start networking and getting out into the real world. I learned that there really is nothing to fear by asking a question. At least I would know what it was like and I put myself out there.

My more challenging moments have been in the open discussions when everyone is asking questions. It is hard when I feel that other people are asking insightful questions and I get in my head about what my questions would sound like out loud. I have been challenging myself to confront this fear, however, by trying to ask a question or sharing an appreciation if I really connect with the speaker. I have been able to do that the past few days and I hope to continue to reach my new goals of asking more questions each day. This is a lesson that will extraordinarily help me back at Lehigh since I never participate in lectures for fear of sounding incorrect or suggesting the wrong opinion. By building this confidence, I will feel empowered and able to speak in front of large crowds; something I will have to do regardless of what field I decide to go into.

This experience has been incredible not just for these lessons I have learned but also for the people I have been able to meet. One of my favorites so far is Nicole Corzine who is the executive director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. She spoke with us today about her journey from London to the states and how when she first started out she wanted to travel. After speaking with her father about her plans, he suggested she get a job to save money. She searched for jobs but none of them interested her, so her father said that she should go out and create it. This was led to her saying that if you do not see an opportunity, create it.

Her quote really resonated with me because I am at a stage in my life where I am thinking about what the next step looks like for me and truthfully I am having a hard time finding a company that aligns with what I am looking for. For this reason I am thinking of creating my own business with plans that fit my passions. If I could talk to her one on one I would explain what I am thinking of doing with studying neural engineering and creating my own company with this research. From this I would ask her advice for someone starting out in my position and any recommendations she may have for what I could do. I also would ask if she had any connections to people who could help get me started and may be interested in joining me. Hopefully I will be able to have this conversation through LinkedIn or email- two platforms I can now use to contact her after having the LSV experience.

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