FRESH Encounters: Jenna Gestetner

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November 19, 2021

If incoming freshman Jenna Gestetner were given the opportunity, she would create a community to revolutionize underemphasized aspects of healthcare, such as food and daily mood and self-esteem. In her free time, Gestetner likes to watch medical television shows, especially The Good Doctor

Tell me a little bit about your journey to the Academy. What were you looking for in an undergraduate program?

I have always been interested in design, entrepreneurship, and healthcare. I would always try to combine my passions in school projects so that I could constantly explore my interests and develop my skills. I know that I want to go into healthcare innovation. I didn’t want to just have to study one thing in college, so I wanted to look for an interdisciplinary program where I could combine all of my passions. When I began looking at colleges, one program immediately stood out. “It’s not what you know, it’s how you think” was the first line in the description of the Iovine and Young Academy. I immediately felt this statement clearly fit who I am, how I see the world and how I see my future. When I thought it couldn’t get any better, I saw that the Academy offers healthcare innovation classes.

What are you most looking forward to in the Academy? 

I am looking forward to the cohort experience and having the opportunity to work with people who are passionate about the things they do. I have already had the chance to meet so many students at the Academy, and it always fascinates me to hear about what everyone is passionate about. I am looking forward to collaborating with people who have different skills, and hopefully, I can learn from them.

What are three goals you want to accomplish during your time at the Academy and/or USC? 

  1. Meet new people and find a place in the community
  2. Become a tour guide or admission ambassador 
  3. Continue to explore the different things I am interested in so that I can figure out exactly what I want to do in the future

Let’s say you were miraculously provided $1,000,000 in seed funding tomorrow. What would you create? 

If I were given $1,000,000 in seed funding, I would create a community to innovate and revolutionize the way that healthcare is seen and incorporated into our daily lives. Healthcare is often seen as going to doctors or taking medications which can be negative aspects of people’s lives, but there are so many more aspects of healthcare like fitness, food, and the way we feel every day, that are seen as positive parts of life. Because of the siloed nature of the healthcare industry, these are separated and often seen as disruptions. Creating a community where all the aspects of daily healthcare are integrated and normalized would help educate people and encourage them to be healthy.

Young woman in USC sweater holding a foam hand
Young woman sitting on top of black car

What is a good piece of advice you've received that you plan to apply throughout college?

 Focus on academics, but don’t forget to try new things and have a good time. It is exciting to have the chance to choose what to learn about and dive deep into certain topics. As much as I will be busy with classes and work, I should make sure that I am trying everything I want to try and having fun.

What is your proudest achievement to date? 

Getting into USC Iovine and Young Academy. It is something that I have wanted for as long as I can remember, even before I knew it existed. I know having the opportunity to go to USC and be a part of Cohort 8 at the Academy is going to lead me on the path I want for my future. I still have a document from a couple of years ago where I had to write what I wanted in the near future. In that document, I wrote that I wanted to go to the Iovine and Young Academy and I needed to create work to get me there. That work then became part of my portfolio I submitted to the Academy.

Describe one thing most people don’t know about you.

A lot of people don’t know that I was born in London but have lived in Los Angeles for more time than I lived in London. When people hear my British accent, they assume that I just moved, or I came here by myself for school. Truth is, I have lived here with my parents and brother since I was seven.

What is one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?

My parents taught me to always follow my passions and not to be afraid to do something unconventional. They have always supported and encouraged me to explore my interests. They have also always answered my questions about random things. This allowed me to explore many different topics that I wouldn’t have learned about otherwise.

Out of the five traits of a Trojan, which trait best describes you? 

“Ambitious.” I have always loved to learn about new things. I have sometimes been known to like to do things that other people don’t. I am just always ready to do things. In my mind, doing anything can help me develop my skills or simply be an interesting experience. I don’t always have specific goals I am working towards, but I am always working to become the best version of myself.


What is one skill/thing that you learned during the COVID-19 pandemic?
During COVID-19, I learned how to use Adobe XD and create UI/UX designs.

What is your favorite app/website and why? 
Adobe Color because I always get color palette inspiration from there.

If you could be any kitchen appliance, what would you be and why? 
I would be an air fryer because it is versatile and somehow makes anything taste great.

What is your guilty pleasure? 
I really enjoy watching medical TV shows because, on top of the standard TV show storylines, I get to learn more about medicine and healthcare. My favorite show is The Good Doctor.

What inspires you?
People who are not afraid to bring new and innovative ideas to the world inspire me.

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