Dear Montecito: Jason Feinberg
Jason Feinberg and I had known each other for almost three years before a chance conversation revealed that we were related. You see, Jason’s mother’s cousin is my half-sister-in-law’s father – and you wonder how we didn’t figure it out sooner!
There’s no blood between us, which would be obvious to anyone comparing his towering 6 feet plus to my aspiring 5 feet 2 inches. We do, however, have a shared interest in the biological sciences. Jason is seeking bachelor’s degrees in business and biology and has already published his first paper in the field. As a student who can barely read a paper in biology myself, let alone write one, I was decidedly impressed with my old cousin-in-law. It almost makes up for that time I had to play Settlers of Catan with the Feinberg siblings. (Sorry, Jason. It’s a sub-par game.) With that off my chest, please enjoy this week’s letter from Jason Feinberg.
It’s been a while since we last spoke, so I thought I’d reintroduce myself. My name is Jason Feinberg, and I’ve lived within your bounds since I was around three years old. I spent the rest of my life with you until I took on the intimidating, yet exciting, adventure of college and adulthood. You have always brought out the best in me and guided me to find my passions thanks to your never-ending coastlines, beautiful mountaintops, picturesque skyline, and most importantly, the people that came to live in your domain. I was given ample opportunities to discover my passions, who I wanted to be, and given a wonderful community to support me through all of my adventures. You helped teach me that I enjoyed photography and cinematography, showing me that there is always a story to tell in Montecito. The joy you have given me has inspired creative ways to express it. Through the wonderful mentorship of my high school teachers, I found my love for biology and obtained the dream of becoming a scientist, one who will one day be able to cure diseases, along with my own. My friends showed me the joys of entrepreneurship, as we took on challenges and met with business professionals who underwrote me – from there, my passion for social good through entrepreneurship was born. The resources and community of Montecito have helped show me who I want to be and have further helped guide me in the direction of becoming that person. One day, I hope to be able to mesh all of my passions: digital design and storytelling, biological engineering and synthetic chemistry, and entrepreneurship and social change in order to shake the status quo and create a more equitable world. For that reason, I decided to matriculate at the University of California, Berkeley, where I am currently pursuing degrees in nutritional science, bioengineering, and business administration (and forestry, because who doesn’t love a good ol’ Quercus lobata).
When I started my career as an undergraduate, I knew where I wanted to end up but not how I wanted to get there. I began working at several small biotech companies, then found my way to working in laboratories, studying pancreatic beta cells, and beige adipocytes (and even published my own paper!), later landing an internship at NASA in Houston. It’s easy to list one’s accolades, forgetting what it took to accomplish them in the first place. I owe a great thanks to the perennial support from my family and friends. This has been the case and always will be.
Montecito, my time away from you has been fraught with challenges and tribulations, but I know that my upbringing has allowed me to be deeply rooted in my sense of self and my abilities. Even when I am shaken from time to time, I can always rely on the fact that I had a supportive family and community back home that will always have my back. Having been raised in Montecito has been the best part of my life (so far), and I hope to return back to you one day, but for now, I must go out and see the world, glean worldly knowledge and wisdom, so that when I return, I can offer that back to you and to my community back home.
All the best,