Live with Intention.

Our Mission

Project Not By Default came out of our own observations as students. As we wondered what to do with our lives and with the opportunities afforded us, we watched our friends and classmates flock to the traditional paths of investment banking, consulting, big tech, and med school - paths offering amazing careers right for many individuals, but wrong for others. And in many of those wrong instances, the right path was there too, just waiting to be found. Just missing a bit of direction, a little courage, and a friendly push.

We’re here to create a community for students trying to “figure it all out.” For students, from students: to inspire, support, and challenge each other to seek a path that is right for each individual - and to do so deliberately, with excitement, and not by default.

The Cohort

The Cohort is our first attempt to make a difference. Could we bring together a group of students currently facing the default path and create the community and inspiration to support them in pursuing a more intentional, personal path? Meet the Cohort - six current Princeton students - and stay tuned for updates on their journey.

The Team

Laura Du

Let’s “un-box” each other. I am an outdoorsy type afraid of bugs; a writer by night, consultant by day, and engineer at heart; a feminist who believes that chivalry and equality should coexist. I love the whisper of sea breeze through palm trees, the crash of waves on soft sand; the winding streets of London, the stone-on-stone feats of ancient Roman construction, and the view from Dolores Park. A Beijing/ Portland/ NorCal transplant to NYC, I am happiest discovering new stories of people, neighborhoods, and history. I am a product of amazingly giving educators, both inside the classroom and out, and I believe an inspiring education for every child is absolutely worth fighting for. I am an explorer, a homebody, a big sister, ed techie, loyal friend, amateur stargazer, and most of all, your friendly, non-heteronormative dreamer-next-door.

Collin Stedman

What are you most afraid of? My answer used to be spiders, but since attending Princeton I’ve grown to fear complexity. As a computer scientist, I search for methods to manage complexity wherever it may be found. Some particular topics of interest include community formation, data curation, and the difficulty of high-yield communication. I believe in building tools and testing theories. Success is the story of learning from failure. I’m inspired by poets, painters, and all who dedicate their lives to creating order where none existed. In my free time, I juggle, write, and play poker. I love hearing stories and sometimes sharing my own.

Raymond Zhong

Hello – my name is Raymond. I’m interested in how people understand the world around them: from the ways we consume information in the classroom and in our everyday lives, to all the ways we communicate and learn to understand each other through the written word and human interaction. At Princeton I’ve studied computer science, the history of technology, human values and perception, and social systems, and I’ve also helped build tools and organizations using what I’ve learned. I’m inspired by great minds and expressive artists, people who show us thoughts and feelings we would have wanted to think or feel, but wouldn’t have until we’d read or seen them.