Greetings from Berkeley. We’re launching a new Where are they now series on this blog so you can see what alumni are doing after life at I-House. I’ve tracked down Sunny J. Mistry for our first subject and will share our conversation below.
So, where is he now?
Hint: It’s even more Sunny in Cupertino!
LF: Hi Sunny. Please introduce yourself.
Sunny: My name is Sunny J. Mistry and I lived in I-House from August 2008 until May 2014. I was born and raised in Switzerland, but both my parents are from India. However, I hold a British citizenship and only permanent residencies in Switzerland and India.
LF: What was your degree in?
Sunny: I came to Berkeley for my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. My dissertation project was about the mathematical and computational modeling of crystallization in natural rubber. After graduating in May last year, I applied for jobs, went back home to Switzerland, traveled in Europe with my parents, and came back to the Bay Area three months ago to start my new job at Apple in the product design team for iPhones and Apple Watch.
LF: Impressive! Did your experience at I-House help your career search in any way?
Sunny: Absolutely! I-House had a major impact on who I am today and where I am today. Living in I-House allowed me to meet the most amazing people from all over the world and build a network of friends that is based on the genuine love of meeting people as opposed to networking as a means to an end. When I first came to I-House, I was very shy, starting a conversation with strangers did not come very naturally to me, and “confident” was not an attribute I would have necessarily given myself. Now, 6 years later, things could not be more different. I can easily initiate and have an interesting conversation with anyone, and I very much enjoy doing that. I see myself as a small connector across the globe, connecting people from my different years in I-House. Moreover, having traveled to a lot of different cities and countries visiting friends from I-House, solidified my understanding and respect of different cultures. Wherever I go, I am always in touch with people I met in I-House (and I try my utmost to keep in touch with as many people as possible) and it makes me feel happy and confident every day to have all these people in my life and have them as my friends. Needless to say that this network of friends also played a key role in my job hunt after graduation.
LF: How did you land a job at Apple?
Sunny: Towards the end of my Ph.D. it was clear to me that I did not want to pursue an academic career. Thus, I started applying to jobs outside of academia. But that basically just meant talking to my friends, which I had met through I-House and were working for my targeted companies, and asking them for a referral. Ironically enough, a referral from a non-I-House friend, who was also studying in the same Department at Berkeley and had started working at Apple, worked out first, such that the other referrals were not needed at all.
LF: What is your role at Apple?
Sunny: I work in the product design team for iPhones and Apple Watch. My role within the group is to support the design engineers in making their designs more robust by simulating them under real life conditions (as close as possible to that) on the computer.
Moreover, I also work on characterizing new materials that could potentially be of use in our future products.
LF: Are you still a DJ?
Sunny: Yes! In fact, my next project is to start producing my own music.
LF: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Sunny: You can take a person out of I-House, but you can’t take I-House out of the person. I-House is a wonderful place with a very important mission and we need more International Houses! 🙂
LF: Can I quote you on that? I agree! There is a network of International Houses Worldwide, but the world could certainly use more.
Sunny: Indeed. Here are a few photos from my incredible years at I-House.
LF: Looks like you had a wonderful time at I-House, UC Berkeley and beyond! Sunny, thanks for sharing the I-House love.
Note: Residents and alumni might remember Sunny as the DJ at I-House parties and the SF Bay cruises organized by the I-House Resident Council. He also provided playlists on our Spotify channel:
If you are an I-House alum and have news to share for our Where are they now series, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (510)643-7735. Video format messages are welcome!