Published: Dec. 18, 2023

Sydney Kobak, an Integrated Design Engineering graduating senior with a mechanical engineering emphasis and business concentration, has been recognized by the college for her academic engagement. Kobak won fourth place out of 97 teams in the New Venture Challenge for her business pitch for Piña Designs, and has been a dedicated member of the IDE advisory board, helping to craft an alumni panel and give feedback on the program. She is currently studying abroad in Italy. 

How does it feel to be recognized?

It feels amazing and so heart warming to receive this award. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to even have been considered while also feeling very proud and happy for myself; it was definitely the cherry on top of an amazing four years. 

What is Piña Designs?

Our mission at Piña Designs is to create a lasting positive impact on climate change, one hair tie at a time. At Piña Designs we make biodegradable and sustainable hair ties made from discarded pineapple leaves and natural rubber. We are a female-owned and operated company and we are so excited to launch hopefully sometime in 2024! 

What are your views on collaboration?

I think that collaboration is vital to success in all facets. Through my academic experiences at CU Boulder I have learned the most through collaboration and interaction. On top of that, I think that getting a variety of perspectives from different backgrounds and views is what can yield amazing and creative results. 

What has been your experience as a part of the BOLD community?

The BOLD community has been such an amazing experience for me personally. I have gotten to meet lots of women in STEM and also got the opportunity my Spring 2023 semester to mentor some amazing freshman STEM women! It has created lots of opportunities for professional development and also gave me a nice sense of community throughout my years at CU Boulder.  

Whats important for people to know about your jouney through CU Boulder and IDE? 

I think the most important thing for people to know about my personal journey is that among the successes I have had, I have also had plenty of failures and if I could go back in time and change them I wouldn't. For me, the times I fell flat on my face were the ones that shaped me to be the person, student and engineer that I am today and I am grateful for them. 

I also think that in general IDE really shaped my academic experience and has made me a better engineer and person. If I could recommend any program at CU Boulder I would highly suggest IDE, it gave me a unique learning experience and a lot of skills that I think differentiated my experience from traditional mechanical engineers. 

What are your hopes for the future?

In a general sense, I hope that we continue to see an increase of women in engineering and STEM fields and on a more personal note I hope to see people wearing Pina Design’s in 2025.   

If you were to give advice to a younger you, what would you say?

If I could give the younger me some advice I would say to raise my hand more and speak up! Don't be afraid to be loud and it's okay to be incorrect, that's what learning is for.