Letters to a transfer student: Rosey Stone

“This is an opportunity that changes your life and makes UC Berkeley feel even more like home.”

Honors Fellow Rosey Stone shares a letter addressed to her younger self right after she was admitted to Berkeley as a transfer student two years ago. She discusses the worries and excitement she had in coming to Berkeley, as well how she grew and learned as a Fung Fellow.

Hey you!

Berkeley!?! I know, sometimes I still can’t believe it. It’s crazy and so exciting, but I think it’s the right place and the right choice for you. It’s where you’re meant to be. I know you are super worried about some of the rumors you’ve heard about UC Berkeley— it’s cutthroat, isolating, and impersonal. But let me tell you about the Fung Fellowship, which is the opposite of all of those things.

You’ll walk into the kickoff bootcamp greeted by smiles, first from the professor — who introduces himself by his first name and quickly learns yours — then from your Fellows. You’re worried about finding a place and a community as a Berkeley student, but the Fung Fellowship is not just a community, it’s a family. The other Fellows in your cohort come from all walks of life and they are just as passionate as you are about leveraging technology to solve real-world problems. Whether they started at Berkeley, are a transfer, and/or a veteran, each Fellow brings a unique contribution and perspective, which all are valued equally. You’ll learn so much from your peers about classes, professors, and new ideas. You’ll meet and work in teams with some of the best folks at Berkeley. And you’ll feel appreciated for bringing your authentic self and your experiences to every lecture and every lab, as well as supported when you’re a bit overwhelmed.

Not only is the Fellowship welcoming and inclusive, your first big design challenge will literally be called “We All Win.” In this challenge, you’ll are tasked with designing a video game to teach kids healthy relationship habits. Through intensive and thorough user research, your team will develop a concept for a role-playing game which teaches compassion and encourages teamwork.

“I’m not interested in giving you toy problems,” the instructor will say when you first meet him, and he’s not kidding: you’ll work on real-world problems and develop practical, feasible solutions which have tangible social impact. Through your time in the Fellowship, looking at issues and problems that affect real people, you will start to notice a paradigm shift within your own mind. Instead of just passively observing problems in the world, you’ll start to ideate possible solutions. It’s that thing you’ve heard referred to as “the Engineering Approach”; it is powerful and super empowering.

I know you’re worried about finding avenues to express your innate creativity within your scientific major; the Fung Fellowship will provide you a platform to innovate and design as well as incorporate your passion for effecting change in the world. You’ll find yourself pushing yourself far out of your comfort zone and learning new technologies because you’re inspired to translate an idea into reality.

I won’t lie to you: you’ll encounter quite a lot of ambiguity. But, with the support of your Fellows and the teaching team, you’ll learn how to thrive within that environment. The unknown is scary, but the Fung Fellowship grants you the freedom to explore what you’ll fondly refer to as “safe uncertainty.” Learning about human-centered design will teach you so much about how to integrate qualitative feedback into a proposed solution and identify unmet or unrealized needs. But it goes beyond that: by the time the year ends, you’ll realize that principles of co-design, which is involving the user or customer closely in your process, and customer engagement, such as asking and not assuming how your user feels, have applications in any career you may elect to pursue.

So when you see an email advertising the Fung Fellowship, don’t dismiss it. Apply! This is an opportunity that changes your life and makes UC Berkeley feel even more like home.

All my love,
Rosey

About the Author

A young woman with pink and purple hair smiles at the camera.

Honors Fellow

Year: Senior

Majors: Molecular and Cell Biology & Data Science

Hometown: Piedmont, CA

Transferred from: City College of San Francisco

Connect with Rosey

Applications for the Fung Fellowship are now open for the UC Berkeley transfer class of 2022!

Learn more about the Fung Fellowship at fungfellows.berkeley.edu.

The Fung Fellowship at UC Berkeley is shaping the next generation of health, conservation, and technology leaders for a better world. 🌱