Why I Applied for the Thiel Fellowship

By Jasmine Lee

A few hours before the New Years countdown, I turned in my application for the  Thiel Fellowship, a fellowship created by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel that gives 20 young entrepreneurs under 20 years old a $100,000 grant to pursue their venture.  Thiel Fellows are expected to leave school for two years to fully focus on making their visions for their start up a reality. I applied to the Thiel Fellowship pitching my work for a startup I co-founded with a group of engineering students at UC Berkeley called CrowdForce, a crowd sourced head hunting service targeted towards tech companies.

My biggest fear in life, besides losing a loved one, is looking back and regretting things that I could’ve, should’ve or would’ve done, but I was just scared to follow through.  By having to write essays about my ideas and goals for the Thiel Fellowship application (many thanks to Poornima for suggesting ways I could improve my essays!), I made some self-realizations about my work here at Femgineer, along with my other goals.

I am blessed to be surrounded by Femgineers like Poornima and Frances, among many others. It is because they lead by example and encourage me to pursue my technological and entrepreneurial interests that I am able to write about topics relating to women in STEM for the Thiel Application.  They are women making an impact in the industry and they make me proud to  intern at Femgineer.

Honestly, at times I feel like I don’t have enough expertise to execute my plan for Crowdforce. I feel like an imposter when people ask me for startup advice. I suspect many young entrepreneurs feel this way. But by working with Poornima, by carrying out my vision for CrowdForce, and by applying for the Thiel Fellowship, together they will allow me the opportunities, focus, and resources I need in order to perfect my product and to grow as a person and successful entrepreneur.

My mission is to figure out how I can apply the abilities I have and to make the most of what I’ve been blessed to receive. I do not want to miss out on opportunities and life lessons to learn from.  The timing is perfect right now because I truly believe in my idea and I have technologically adept teammates and the community at Femgineer supporting me.

Wish me luck!

Jasmine is a freshman undergrad at UC Berkeley majoring in Computer Science. She is a Hackers @ Berkeley club officer and also works as a webmaster at the UC Berkeley Boalt Law School. Jasmine is humbly inspired by the hackers and builders around her and is excited to learn more about the field. Not only does she like sharing her passion with everyone, but she wants to learn how to play the ukulele and says “Carpe diem! Seize the day. Also, I like bubble milk tea.”

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