Photo by Steven Pisano / CC 2.0
Although engineers and Valentine’s Day usually go together about as well Penn students and anything that isn’t Uber, one inventive senior is looking to overcome well-trodden stereotypes and help bring joy from campus-wide heartbreak.
When Neal Jenkins (E '18) thought back on his past 22 years of Valentine's Day experiences, he consistently remembered one thing: being rejected. Whether it was performing lovingly crafted power ballads, hand crafting jewelry or complimenting new haircuts, every one of his attempts at romance in the past had failed miserably. Jenkins couldn’t understand why he was being rejected, especially because he was so cool and nice to women, but that was a question for another startup pitch.
By late 2017, Jenkins had become so disillusioned by the concept of love that he would spend his weekends on internet forums debating the faults and merits of “anime waifus.”
“That was when I knew I’d hit rock bottom,” he told UTB, his voice shaking and eyes lowered in shame. But it’s always darkest before the dawn, and, in that moment, Jenkins realized that he could repurpose the romantic failures of others in the name of helping people get free shit.
“I figured I might as well channel my programming genius to build an app that automatically directs users to the closest garbage cans haphazardly stuffed with bouquets of roses, Belgian chocolates and tear-stained love notes dedicated to the undying beauty of 'Natasha C.' Prospering from others' misfortunes – what a concept!"
Jenkins expects yet another dateless Valentine's Day, but looks forward to indulging in potentially contaminated candies, surrounded by browning flowers.