What’s Next for Silicon Valley?

This is the first in a series of posts by recipaints of the Career Services Summer Funding grant.  We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending the summer.  

This first blog is by Emily Sun, CAS ’15

This summer, I was one of the lucky few who had an internship in Silicon Valley. I am not sure of the exact numbers or rates of acceptance for these internships, but I know they are extremely desirable. Gourmet and ethnic cafeteria food, company buses, and free concerts; these tech giants in Silicon Valley offer their interns amenities far greater than any top ranked university. My internship was a bit different since my employer was not a tech giant but a nonprofit. Joint Venture Silicon Valley is a leadership group that tackles the major challenges facing the region. A few of its initiatives include sustainable buildings, wireless communication, economic development, and climate prosperity. Recently, Joint Venture published a Silicon Valley Index which has been greatly influential and helpful for understanding Silicon Valley’s economy.

My internship was with Kara Ann Gross, the executive director of Joint Venture’s Economic Development Alliance. During this experience, I gained a deeper perspective and understanding about a nonprofit and how, in Joint Venture’s case, essential was collaboration. Every Monday morning we had a staff meeting where the president of Joint Venture would basically check in with everyone and update us on what he was doing too. In my previous experience with nonprofits, there were a lot of meetings to attend regarding planning, city policies or programs but we never had just staff meetings. Staff meetings felt personal but at the same time it was about the organization and staying on top of the work.

In the beginning, I had to do some background reading about Joint Venture, Silicon Valley, and business development as an introduction. Kara gave me a lot of materials including reports and business journals which I was to read for my benefit, but also keeping an eye out for interesting articles for our newsletter and up and coming real estate brokers for our broker database. My primary project was to update this database by merging some different lists and adding new contacts. Another project that I worked on was collecting interviews from member cities and making that information available on our website. Although I was working for on economic development in Silicon Valley, somehow a large part of my role was editing and developing the website. I also had to update content on the website regarding co-working spaces and advance manufacturing in Silicon Valley. I didn’t realize how much nonprofits like Joint Venture value and emphasized information, research and innovation. It must be part of the Silicon Valley culture.

Perhaps my favorite part of my internship was the site visits to the member cities. Kara introduced me to the economic development directors of cities such as Fremont, Sunnyvalle, and Palo Alto. Some cities housed tech giants while others had substantial residential development. The needs of the member cities varied just like the character of each city. Regional economic development is becoming more important for local governments and I am excited to see Joint Venture and similar nonprofits exercise their leadership.

A New Series of Summer Reflections

Starting tomorrow, Penn & Beyond: The Career Services Blog will be posting a series of reflections from students who were recipients of our summer funding grants.

You’ll hear from a wide range of students representing many different facets of the Penn student body.  They’re each having a unique summer experience in a varied pool of industries and job types.   It’s our hope that you’ll learn about a new job opportunity or gain insight into a field you’re already interested in from the student perspective.

The series begins tomorrow with a post from Emily Sun (CAS 15), who is spending the summer in Silicon Valley, working for a non-profit that tackles a wide range of economic and sustainability challenges in the region.  Other entries will follow roughly twice a week during the months of August and September.    You’ll be able to view the entire series at any time by searching for the tag “summer funding blog.”

A cool job, favorite things and careers

By Sharon Fleshman

icecreamAs I dedicate this blog to two of my favorite things (summer and sweets), I wonder how fun it might be to dream up jobs related to them.  With the heat of the summer months comes an opportunity to enjoy something cool. As much as I appreciate a frosty glass of iced tea or lemonade, there’s nothing quite like a scoop of ice cream. (Just about anything with chocolate works for me.)  So imagine my glee when I stumbled upon information about John Harrison, who has what I would call a “cool” job – ice cream taster.

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say ice cream is a favorite of yours.  As you add ice cream taster to your list to related jobs, consider some more possibilities.  You could develop new flavors, manage or own an ice cream shop, develop a marketing plan for a brand of ice cream, and so on.

Brainstorming around favorite things for career options may seem whimsical, but imagine what could emerge. This process may not be so much about finding a career involving that specific favorite thing as much as a chance to allow your creativity some space to roam in your career development.

Enjoy the last days of summer and the treats that come with it!