Jailene Sinchi

Hometown: New York, NY
College/University Attending: Cornell University
Year In School When Selected: Third Year
Program of Study: Major: Biology and Society, Minor: Business, Psychology, Spanish


Growing up in New York City gave me the privilege of learning about diverse and rich cultures, allowing me to gain a unique perspective on how different communities coexist and thrive together.

The Ecuadorian heritage that I carry infused my perception and interests, including spending time visiting Ecuador and learning more about traditions such as food and sustainability practices. Visiting Ecuador allowed me to immerse myself in the breathtaking landscapes of the Andes and the rainforests of the Amazon, where I witnessed the balance between humanity and nature that has been preserved for generations.

At Cornell, I learned to appreciate the intersection between biology and business, which extended my understanding of how scientific advancements can be effectively translated into real-world applications and solutions. Through coursework and hands-on experiences, I acquired valuable insights and refined my analytical skills into the pivotal role that business principles play in fostering relationships, driving innovation, and ensuring sustainability.

When I’m not studying, I’m out exploring Ithaca on runs or bike rides, always seeking new experiences. I unwind everyday by reading the NY Times and a daily game of Wordle.

Summary of New Ideas proposal:

What if we could transform the way children interact with their environment from an early age, shaping them into stewards of the planet for generations to come? My New Ideas proposal tackled finding a solution within childhood development, specifically targeting the formative years of childhood for instilling pro-environmental behaviors.

By working with well-known toy companies, this proposal advocates for a shift in marketing tactics towards promoting eco-friendly practices and toys. As a psychology minor at Cornell drawing upon the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and research on toy preferences, the proposal underscores the significant impact toys have on child development and long-term behaviors. This proposal seeks to revolutionize marketing tactics by redirecting our focus toward instilling positive environmental behaviors in the early stages of a child's development. Rather than attempting to reshape the ingrained habits of adults, the emphasis is on cultivating eco-friendly practices from a young age, thereby preventing irreparable damage to our planet.

Inspired by the Montessori toy, this proposal advocates for a shift in the toys brands market and push onto consumers and instead, highlight how Montessori favors toys made from natural materials like wood, metal, and cotton. Unlike plastic, these materials inspire a connection to nature and the real world, while the different textures offer a sensory experience and encourage exploration. Montessori toys have existed for a long time and now, it is vital to use the power of marketing to promote the usage of these toys, especially integrating into schools, and discouraging the use of plastic toys and unnecessary accessories to stimulate a child’s imagination. Moreover, as more children become addicted to their tablets and mobile devices, it’s imperative to connect children back with their surroundings and environment and allow them to remember what it means to be a kid.

All children should learn how to recycle and compost in a fun manner by creating a “customizable” recycling bin, or creating carton-based recycling bins that children can create at home and customize with their favorite Mattel, Hasbro, etc. characters. This initiative could extend to creating real-life garbage cans to allow children to see a promotion of pro-environmental behavior within their favorite characters. The design and production of character-themed bins will allow the collaboration with leading toy companies to license popular characters/brands for the creation of themed recycling bins. This will allow children from all ages to be attracted to the action of recycling and allow them to create a connection with their homes in a fun manner.

Overall, collaborative efforts between researchers, child development experts, and industry leaders are envisioned to turn this vision into reality, fostering a greener, more sustainable future.

What does the New Ideas Competition mean to you?

Duke’s Fuqua School of Business emphasizes their values and I vividly remember reading: “Actions, not words.” This competition underscores their dedication and mission to fostering positive societal change through business.

My experience at Duke's Fuqua School of Business provided me with the chance to connect with inspiring individuals and accomplished members of the Duke community, as well as fellow peers from across the nation. Participating in the New Ideas Competition equipped me with valuable skills essential for success in the evolving stakeholder economy, preparing us as future business leaders with the necessary tools for navigating this landscape. More importantly, it gave me the opportunity to be heard, and to begin the process of incorporating the principles of sustainability and environmental stewardship into the fabric of business practices.

As we strive to shape a future where business and sustainability go hand-in-hand, this experience has been invaluable in laying the groundwork for making meaningful change in the world.

Advice for new applicants:

Don't be afraid! I know it could be frightening to propose an idea that hasn't been brought to the table yet. You can be that person. Always carry passion for your idea—it'll shine bright as you work, research, and ultimately present at Duke.

Nothing is ever perfect. Don't be discouraged if your study didn't have the data you wanted, or your research isn't leading you to the information you want. It all starts with one idea. It's funny how something so simple could lead to the creation of a groundbreaking proposal. The committee isn't looking for a "perfect" proposal—they are interested in a proposal that reflects an individual's authentic self and their unique voice. Embrace the journey, learn from setbacks, and let your passion shine through in your work.