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Professional Development Opportunities for GIX Graduate Students

Date: March 04, 2019

GIX offers many ways for students to network, learn from, and collaborate with top entrepreneurs and experts from leading nonprofits, startups, and corporations. Whether integrated into the Master of Science of Technology Innovation (MSTI)/Dual Degree curriculum, or facilitated outside the classroom, opportunities for students to connect with the extended GIX network is a top priority.

Below, we’ve listed some of the key programs, events, and partnerships GIX has created to enrich the student experience and help them reach their goals after graduation.

Collaboration and engagement opportunities with GIX Consortium members

GIX has forged connections with top local and global industry partners to create collaborative relationships between students and companies that lead to co-invention and technical exchange.

Many of our Consortium members are also interested in hiring talent, and they value the diverse backgrounds and multidisciplinary skillset of our GIX graduate students.

In its first year, GIX had seven consortium members, including ARM, AT&T, Baidu, Boeing, Nintendo, and T-Mobile. We are also closely connected to GIX founding partner, Microsoft.

During the course of the program, we offer many opportunities for students to interact with Consortium members, from collaborative for-credit workshops designed to generate and share innovative ideas, to professional development and networking events.

For the final student-industry projects, GIX students form interdisciplinary teams and work directly with our Consortium member companies to design and develop prototypes for real-world projects and challenges. One group, for example, built an AI-driven app solution for chicken farmers that interprets chicken vocalizations and notifies farmers when their chickens are in distress.

Read more about the student-industry projects developed by GIX’s inaugural class.

Advice and connections through the GIX mentorship program

The GIX mentorship program strives to facilitate meaningful opportunities for students to connect with faculty, industry experts, and top entrepreneurs in the greater Seattle region. Made up of 90+ mentors, this program provides students with ongoing access to successful professionals in fields that interest them most.

Informally, many of our students network with mentors over coffee or at the GIX Steve Ballmer Building to receive tips and guidance on searching for jobs and finding roles that will help them achieve their goals.

We also organize other, more structured opportunities for students to engage with our mentors. Over the summer, for example, we invited some of our GIX mentors to host exclusive, interactive seminars with GIX students focused on career development, the future of work, and the evolution of rapidly growing fields and industries that are incorporating emerging technologies.

Michael Tjalve, one of our GIX mentors, led a seminar about AI for Social Good as part of this series.

Direct access to the broader University of Washington and Tsinghua University communities

 With founding partners the University of Washington and China’s Tsinghua University, GIX is closely connected to two of the world’s most prestigious universities.

GIX MSTI students earn their degree through the University of Washington, while students studying the Dual Degree earn both the UW MSTI and the Master of Science in Engineering (Data Science and Information Technology) through Tsinghua University.

By adopting this model, GIX gives students access to the broader GIX network, and specifically, to the abundance of expertise, resources, faculty, and other opportunities made available through these partner universities.

Peiling Li, a GIX Cohort 2 student, demonstrated the benefits of our strong ties with the University of Washington by getting involved in the Imagine Mobility Ideathon, an event co-hosted by UW’s CoMotion and Challenge Seattle.

In the finals, Peiling Li and her team’s gamification-driven transportation solution tied for third place.

GIX-led events, workshops, and competitions

GIX hosts regular events, workshop series, and competitions for GIX students to network, grow professionally, expand their technical expertise, and practice essential skills like pitching and presenting.

Here are a few of the unique professional development opportunities GIX students benefited from:

  • The GIX Innovation Competition

    Now in its third year, the GIX Innovation Competition strives to spur innovative solutions to local and global challenges.

    Competing teams, comprised of students, inventors, and entrepreneurs, are required to design and develop impactful solutions in future-forward fields, some of which include education, environmental protection, healthcare, transportation, fitness, entertainment, robotics, and information accessibility. The competition is open to students and early-career professionals worldwide.

    Last year, teams were competing for a cash prize pool of $160,000 USD.

    Out of the one hundred teams that competed in the 2018 competition, five GIX student-led teams made it into the top 20 finalists.

    Want to learn more about their projects? Read about them here.

  • Professional Development Event

    GIX curates an annual professional development and career-focused event to help students with their job searches.

    During the event last year, students engaged in informational interviews with GIX mentors, industry professionals, and hiring managers from companies like APAX, Amazon, and DXC Technology, as well as representatives from some of our Consortium members, including ARM, T-Mobile, and Microsoft Health.

    We also facilitated a speaker panel to share insights related to resume-building, interviewing, pitching and public speaking, and how hiring processes differ between businesses and sectors.

    “I particularly liked what Rich Lappenbusch (GIX mentor and solution partner at DXC) said, which was – ‘if you like/relate with the job description then apply for it and prove that you’re worthy of it,’” Archisa Guraoy, Cohort 1 MSTI student, says. “In general, there were a lot of good suggestions by all the panelists and the informational interview that I had with Tauseef Irfan (Senior Software Engineer for Deloitte) guided me towards the next steps that I should take to find a job.”

  • Speaker series and for-credit launch seminar classes

    Facilitated by GIX Co-Executive Director Vikram Jandhyala, the weekly speaker series and for-credit launch seminar classes enable students to hear exclusive talks from successful CEOs, faculty, and startup founders of companies and nonprofits like Zillow, Path, Accolade, and more. Many of the speakers are also professors at the University of Washington.Each of the guest speakers brought their unique experiences and expertise. Some were focused on the startup journey, providing insight into the challenges and opportunities involved in pursuing one’s own technology innovation ideas.

    Others offered students opportunities to advance their technical knowledge and better understand forecasted trends in emerging technologies, including how to design and launch products that will remain relevant and impactful in the future.

Interested in learning more about the types of jobs GIX graduates have landed?

Read on here.