April Chen

Inspired to Imagine New Possibilities

April Chen ’19 / Hong Kong

“I vividly remember the first time I knocked on my RA’s door. I came into her room as a nervous first-year student, unsure about whether I had made the right decision coming to Babson, and shyly asked about her concentration in Social Entrepreneurship and Design. I left with a paper scribbled full with inspiration and an unfolding sense of love and ownership toward my new school. She, as well as many other leaders at Babson, made me realize that this school was where I wanted to be.

“There is a saying, ‘Show me your five closest friends and I’ll show you your future.’ I grew up in Singapore and Hong Kong, where the environment is more traditional and risk-averse, but, at Babson, I found an empowering community that freed me to pursue my true interests and supports me even as it pushes me to reach new heights. When I applied to the Living Entrepreneurship living-learning community (LLC) for my first year, I was unsure what to expect. What I found were other bright-eyed and hopeful first-year students with surprising insights, technical expertise, and ideas who all wanted to learn from each other.

“When I came to college, I wanted to further mesh my interests in design and entrepreneurship. Right away, I began developing a business idea with other Babson students which, by connecting designers and engineers, aimed to build solutions for small business in emerging economies through ‘jugaad’ (frugal innovation). We ended up being selected as a 2016 regional finalist for the Hult Prize (given to young social entrepreneurs), and what really stood out to me was the support we got from professors, the team at the Lewis Institute, and Babson alumni.

“At Babson, I found an empowering community that freed me to pursue my true interests.”

“I’ve also been able to have dynamic collaborations through the Babson, Olin, and Wellesley Design for America studio that I founded. Design for America is a nationwide network of student teams whose mission is to use design thinking to make a positive impact in local communities, and I saw an opportunity to combine the unique strengths of engineering students from Olin College, business students at Babson, and liberal arts students from Wellesley College. I’m currently working with a Wellesley College student on interactive coloring cards with inspirational messaging for when people are in low moments and need to hear they are loved.

“So far in my college career, my mind has been expanded through my exposure to new perspectives. This happens through classes that revolve around issues of justice, inequality, race, and culture, but when it comes to these topics it also makes such a difference to have students of different ethnicities and backgrounds voicing their experiences. Babson provides a space for me, through listening and sharing my own stories, to develop personal connections that go beyond my intellectual understanding of other cultures.”