career connections

Bay Area Career Trek brings alumni and students together

The words “Spring Break” call up images of road trips, fun in the sun, or just taking a break from the stresses of college life. For a dozen ambitious UW students, Spring Break 2016 meant traveling to California to explore careers and meet area alumni on the Bay Area Career Trek.

For four days, the trekkers visited Bay Area businesses, including technology and finance firms, where they witnessed floor trading, saw some of the ins and outs of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers and enjoyed a tour of the Google campus. They got a glimpse of the future of green energy at Bloom Energy and experienced the fast-paced environment of IT startups like the online lodging company Airbnb. Everywhere they went, they met UW alumni who were thrilled to share their experiences and tips about life and careers.

It was encouraging for students to see the strong network of alumni who are ready to help new grads take their first steps. “There are so many professionals who want to talk to you, give you advice or help you advance your career,” said a student traveler. “They are so willing to help.”

Learning from the pros — and each other

The students came from a variety of majors, from business administration to biochemistry, all interested to learn what opportunities lie in store after graduation. For students who don’t mix much outside their majors, it was a fantastic opportunity to learn from each other. “It was very neat to be surrounded by such motivated students,” enthused one Trekker.

The diversity of majors also led the speakers to share their sometimes-circuitous paths to their own positions. They discussed how, while your career can take you far from your field of study, the values of mental rigor and curiosity nurtured at the UW served them well after graduation. Reported one student, “It helped me learn about a variety of majors and industries I would not have considered.”

Just one piece of the puzzle

The Bay Area Career Trek was just the beginning. A Fall 2016 Trek took place in Portland, and applications are currently being accepted for Spring 2017 treks to the Bay Area and Washington D.C. Live in the Puget Sound area and interested in helping out Husky students here at home? Learn about Huskies@Work, which connects UW students with alumni for a day of job shadowing.