Before the beginning of the spring 2018 semester, three engineering students participated in a technology immersion program called Villanova in the Valley (VinV). Emily Dailey ’18 ME, Branden Garrett ’19 CpE, and Patrick Korzeniowski ’19 ME took part in the six-day trip that brought them nearly 3,000 miles from Villanova to Silicon Valley, California. Sponsored by the Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Institute (ICE), the journey gave students an opportunity to not only see the inner workings of a variety of Silicon Valley companies such as Dropbox, Facebook and Tesla, but to also meet with CEO’s and Villanova alumni who now work for those companies.
In all, the group of 16 students visited 18 different companies ranging from start-ups to established household names in fields from software engineering to sustainable manufacturing. The unique, all-encompassing atmosphere creates a very different experience for each individual based on their interests. Branden, whose favorite company visit was Dropbox, explains, “As a computer engineer, it definitely helps going on this trip because it challenges your notions of what is a hardware-based or software-based job when you have employees giving you a tour of their company and various departments.” On the other hand, Emily enjoyed the energy companies like Tesla and Bloom Energy. “They were both focused on sustainability and they are leading the world in the shift to renewables. Both visits were extremely technical in nature, and I got to see concepts I have learned in my classes brought to life,” she says. Upon returning to campus, the students are collectively tasked with sharing a presentation about the trip with former participants, faculty and alumni.
Both Emily and Branden agreed that they would highly recommend the program to others. It serves as a fantastic complement to the ICE Institute and gives students of all majors opportunities that they otherwise would never be able to have. Emily explains, “It’s easy to lose sight of what our skillset allows us to do. We have the technical skills and innovative thinking, and we just need to be reminded of what inspired us to pursue engineering in the first place.”
For more information on VinV and the ICE Institute, please visit http://www.villanovaice.com/.