At Stanford’s School of Engineering, faculty observed that students consistently weren’t sure how to best use their summers. A persistent rat race ensued around prestige and brand of employer vs. building the right skills for the student’s interest and career goals. Ultimately, The School was watching students struggle to transition from college to career and saw the need for students to gain more experience throughout their time at Stanford .
In 2017, Ei designed and deployed a 1-credit class, Design Summer, based on the LEAPs program. It entailed 4 workshops centered around self awareness, career navigation and storytelling, was peppered with student and alumni events. On the back end, a technology solution allowed School of Engineering alumni to post summer projects and engage with current students around those opportunities.
Design Summer grew from 13 students in 2017, to 140 in 2020. The Design Summer portal now houses 150+ summer projects + internships for students to choose from. The program continues to help the university provide a more structured process and support for students as they transition into meaningful careers; one that involves gaining real-world experience, and integrating that experience into their academic studies; also, one that integrated the skills and mindsets of design thinking into the challenge of career.