Tour of the Facebook campus with Bucknell
Photo: Missy Gutkowski
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A tour of the Facebook campus was a highlight of the trip. Back row, from left: Param Bedi, Sandra Madanat ’21, Katherine Lordi ’20, Aaron Ball ’20, Professors Mihai Banciu and Matt Bailey. Front row: Catherine Murrey ’20, Anthony Masiano ’21, Jake Schaeffer ’20, Anurag Vaidya ’21, Anushikha Sharma ’19, Ryan Bailis ’21, Brad Beacham ’20, Augustine Ubah ’21, Brishti Mandal ’20, Yanjing Huang ’22, Jean Leong ’20 and Claudia Shrefler ’21.
Big Data,
Big Opportunities
Silicon Valley Tech Trek offered students insight into future careers
by Emma Downey ’18, M’20
Seven days. Twelve companies. Twenty students. This spring, Bucknell students, faculty and staff traveled to San Francisco to speak with top tech company CEOs, network with alumni and parents and explore the field of data analytics.

“We hear so much about big data, and this trip brought clarity to that path,” says Catherine Murrey ’20, a markets, innovation & design major. “Many of the employers, parents and alumni we met are leading efforts to use technology and machine learning to transform human lives.”

The Silicon Valley Tech Trek, held March 9-16, took students to 12 companies, which included leaders in technology such as Apple, Google, Uber, Lyft and Facebook, as well as the financial group JPMorgan Chase and a few startups such as Livongo. Events included presentations, panel discussions and conversations designed to provide insight into career paths and encourage connections that would help students in the future.

Cindy Lowe ’07, a Google recruiting specialist who met with the students at the tech giant’s campus, says, “I look back fondly at my time at Bucknell, and so I was thrilled to be a part of the Silicon Valley trip. I loved getting to talk about my experiences at Google and help any prospective candidates in any way that I can, especially if they are Bucknellians.”

“It was really great for the students to be immersed in the technology and data-rich environment and to see the different career paths available from small startups to established tech companies,” says Associate Dean and Professor Mihai Banciu, management.

Mechanical engineering major Brishti Mandal ’20 gained many insights. “Data and computing are slowly taking center stage in every industry,” she says. “The ability to speak the language of data analysis and programming not only opens doors to more career opportunities but also helps us understand the progress of the industry better.”

The trip exemplified the power of the Bucknell network. In addition to formal receptions and networking opportunities at large tech companies, students attended intimate networking events, including a dinner hosted by Gary and Leslie Little P’21 in their Atherton, Calif., home. The final day of the trip took students to the lush Napa Valley to learn about travel, tourism and wine production in the valley with Ed Farver ’69, retired CFO of Kendall Jackson wines.

Sponsored by the Freeman College of Management with financial contributions from the College of Engineering, the trip brought together students from a variety of academic interests. A similar trip is anticipated in the coming years.

“Being on this trip with peers from different backgrounds — majors, class years, nationalities and other identities and experience — gave a certain depth to the conversations that is hard to find in classrooms,” says Mandal. “The chance to interact with the biggest forces working at these companies and organizations as an undergraduate student was undoubtedly unique.”