Over the course of their time with Experience Institute, our students dedicated themselves to documenting their experiences.
Each term, they recorded their surroundings, their apprenticeships and projects, the people they met and the friends they made—in essence, they captured the stories of their lives.
In preparation for EXPO, they collaborated with talented film professionals Collin Mauro, Taylor Russ, and Tyler Jackson to produce their raw footage into thoughtful, composed narratives that followed them through each of their experiences and shared the lessons they learned along the way.
In a private viewing room at CannonDesign, those videos played on loop, offering attendees an in-depth look into the year of each student. From theatrical event production in Chicago to the contemplation of spirituality in the deserts of New Mexico, from an airship built in a remote village in the Philippines to the marriage of music and architecture in Seattle, these are the stories of five individuals who designed their masters through experience.
You can watch them here or simply click below.
April Soetarman earned dual degrees in Music and Architecture from UC Berkeley. She was offered a full-time position as a product developer five minutes after being accepted to Ei’s founding class. But, after Aikido-throwing her inner conflict to the mat, she set out on the Ei path. On a side note, April seems to be on a mission to capture the world in her sketchbook.
Muffadal Saylawala earned dual degrees in Accounting and Finance from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then worked as a consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Chicago. He took a break from the corporate environment before joining Ei’s founding class and traveled the world – gaining inspiration from observing the intricate patterns and designs found in nature. Ei offered him an opportunity to bridge the gap between the seemingly disparate worlds of business and ecological design.
Dane Johnson earned dual degrees in psychology and theology before working as both a musician and social worker. He had recently returned from a seven-month exploration of Southeast Asia, India, and the South Pacific before being accepted into an intercultural studies masters program at a traditional higher ed establishment. However, the opportunity to continue exploring and learning with Ei compelled him to apply. Adventure beckoned, so he accepted the invite to join the founding class.
Bonus video: Desert Silence by Dane Johnson
Carisa Leal had been studying and working in the engineering field for upwards of 10 years, which, shortly before being invited to Ei, led to a promotion in project management at National Instruments. Being supremely curious and talented in other ways (she is an incredible flamenco dancer), she wanted to shift gears and explore other career opportunities. Ei offered a flexible framework for her to discover new paths, so she danced her way to Chicago.
Joe Burgum had recently sold his pop-up t-shirt shop and was working to revitalize neglected alleyways in his hometown of Fargo, North Dakota, before Victor sold him on the idea of blazing an alternate path in higher education. Bypassing an undergraduate program, Joe was eager to dive headfirst into studying how great teams work together in corporate and creative environments. In the past few years, he has developed an ever-increasing love of alleyways and reinventing neglected urban spaces.
We hope you’ll take a moment to view and share their stories.