Pearl Amin’s parents grew up in small rural villages in the Western Indian state of Gujarat. When they came to America in their early 20s, they were astounded by the opportunities that surrounded them. Pearl, a junior majoring in business administration with a concentration in finance and a minor in information systems, says her parents’ humble beginnings are the reason they always taught her to take advantage of all the opportunities that she has been given.
Both of Pearl’s parents are focused small business owners, traits that were clearly passed down to their daughter. “I feel like when I came to college I didn’t want to follow the path that everyone else followed, I wanted to do my own thing. Kind of like what my parents did, they were very entrepreneurial, they built their own businesses, and that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be my own boss, wanted to disrupt industries, change the world kind of thing.” With such high aspirations, Pearl wasted no time in getting started on her dreams as soon as she stepped foot on Marist campus.
Since her freshman year, Pearl has already created two startup businesses of her own. The first stemmed from an idea to help make college campuses safe–an innovation she describes as a mix between a panic button and an amber alert system.
When a friend told her about an opportunity to enter her idea in a program for entrepreneur students to work with Tim Draper, billionaire venture capitalist in California who invests in new businesses, Pearl brushed it off, thinking that she would never be accepted. But then at the last minute, she changed her mind and submitted her application just in time for the 12 a.m. deadline. Not only was she accepted into the program, but she received an almost full scholarship for being a woman in STEM research.
While in California, Pearl flourished under Draper and other investors who saw the potential in her startup. “He helped me develop my startup further, I got in touch with a lot of investors and venture capitalists, and I got funding. I met a lot of cool people,” she reflects. “I went to all the headquarters, like Apple and Google.” She also found a new passion which she hopes to pursue much later in life: helping others with their ideas for businesses.
“I’m always looking out for things that are in my expertise that I can help work on or anything like that. I eventually hope after I retire to be a venture capitalist, or an angel investor, investing in small start-ups. Like how people believed in me, I want to believe in people like that.”
Though she has a long way to go before retirement, Pearl is constantly thinking of new ways to create and innovate technologies. When she sees something she wants to change, she finds a way to do it, even if it means a little bit of hacking to reach her goal.
Hacking is actually how Pearl’s second start-up business took off. Interested in 3-D printing, but lacking the means to own her own 3-D printer, Pearl took matters into her own hands. Through simply watching YouTube videos, she managed to hack a regular Epson 360 printer into a 3-D one. From there, she began to play around with ways for people to use 3-D printing to make their own makeup. “I feel the makeup industry is a monopoly and it doesn’t have a lot of variety for a lot of people. I wanted to create customizable makeup for all skin tones that people could just make on their own by using a color picker on the internet and just printing their own makeup.” Today, her self-made project uses food grade FDA approved ink which is available online for anyone to use.
While she has already made quite a name for herself in the business world, Pearl wasn’t always set on business. In fact, she originally came to Marist for pre-med, and though she ended up changing the major, she is still very passionate about the medical field. In fact, she hopes to combine both passions—business and medicine—into her post graduation plans.
“I’m thinking about Colombia’s post-bachelor's program for pre-medical school, so that’s where I would take all my required pre-med classes, study for my MCATs and get into medical school within two years. Or I’m thinking about going into corporate finance, maybe working on investment banking for a while, and then going to medical school,” she says. Through medical school, Pearl hopes to utilize her information systems minor to help create better medical technology, specifically in the field of radiology.
“There’s a lot of malpractice in India with medical technology and just medical practices in general,” she says. Such practices are the types of things Pearl wants to change–not just in India, but in the world–in the hopes that she may help create better opportunities, just as her parents did for her.
On top of all of this, Pearl speaks four languages: Gujarati, English, Spanish and Hindi, the latter which she says she picked up simply by watching soap operas with her grandmother when she was little. And now, during the spring 2017 semester as she studies abroad in Florence, Italy, Pearl hopes to learn a fifth language by picking up on Italian as well. Language is something that Pearl not only excels in, but plans on incorporating in her future plans by returning to her roots to help advance medical technology.