Tom Lam (Health + Innovation ’24) translates in-class project to real-world impact

With BearHub, Tom intends to centralize campus resources and personalize events to individual students

Fung Fellowship
3 min readMay 30, 2024

Tom Lam transferred to UC Berkeley driven by the vast opportunities the institution promised. With a vision to create a positive impact in society, he sought to immerse himself in Berkeley’s rich startup culture to begin building his business and technological foundation.

However, Tom quickly realized that these opportunities were not as accessible as he had anticipated. After facing rejection from numerous clubs, he found that the pathways to these coveted resources were elusive and challenging to navigate.

“Although I knew there were many opportunities, accessing them was difficult, and even learning about them was a challenge,” Tom said.

One notable exception was the Fung Fellowship, a year-long design and innovation program that empowers undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds to develop solutions for real-world issues.

Reflecting on why he joined the Fung Fellowship, Tom mentioned, “I wanted to make an impact on the Berkeley campus and society in general.”

Initially, although he wasn’t particularly interested in public health or conservation, the two currently offered tracks in the program, he came to appreciate that these fields offered significant opportunities for social impact.

During his first semester in the fellowship in the Health track, Tom was tasked with addressing loneliness in youth and its impact on their mental health.

“The theme of loneliness really resonated with me,” he explained.

“I didn’t have a community on campus that aligned with my interests and could provide me with the support within classes and professionally, nor a friend group who I could just talk to or just hang out with.”

This initial design challenge topic that he came across at the fellowship and his personal insights laid the groundwork for Tom’s startup idea — BearHub, an event and content management system for the school and registered student organizations (RSOs), centralizing campus resources and personalizing events to students.

The challenge, as Tom sees it, is that while UC Berkeley offers a plethora of resources, the information often doesn’t reach students in time or at all. He added that this is because the advertisement of such information is fragmented and lacks personalization.

His solution is BearHub — a comprehensive platform that consolidates resources, events, career fairs, and clubs, enabling students to explore new opportunities and discover their true passions for their future careers.

“Students invest a significant amount of money in their education. If they can’t achieve their goals — especially in terms of discovering their interests and building relevant skills — it feels like a wasted investment,” Tom said.

“I want to offer students a meaningful impact in their lives by making it easier for them to find what they want and giving them a compelling reason to attend school.”

What began as a theoretical solution to an in-class design challenge has now become Tom’s mission. Over winter break, he pitched BearHub at the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SCET)’s bi-annual Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship Bootcamp (BMoE). He has since utilized the fellowship’s user-centered design principles to conduct interviews with students from UC Berkeley and beyond, validating the need for his product.

Finding that many shared his experiences, Tom is forging ahead with BearHub. He has reached out to faculty members, Golden Bear Orientation leaders, and ASUC senators to ensure the platform adds value to both students and the university.

Tom is now seeking student clubs and faculty members to join BearHub on its mission to revolutionize the university’s advertising system and help students find their passion with the little time they have in college.

Email and connect with Tom.

Written by Veronica Roseborough, Fung Institute Digital Marketing Intern.



Fung Fellowship

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