Students Spend Fall Break in Silicon Valley, Learn About Tech Industry

11/6/2017E2 Silicon Valley Trip

Nineteen LSU College of Engineering students recently traveled to Silicon Valley as part of the Encounter Engineering (E2) program.

The four-day trip consisted of a tour of San Francisco; a visit to the Computer History Museum; an alumni meet-and-greet and a tour of six companies, which included Google, Apple, Bloom Energy and IBM.

Paige Davis, an instructor in the Department of Construction Management, said it was a great opportunity for students to look beyond Louisiana for their future.

“I want to encourage [the students] to think about looking for jobs in other places,” Davis said. “Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and the whole Bay Area have a lot of new and exciting opportunities.”

Mechanical engineering junior Luke Williams participated in previous E2 programs and knew how beneficial the trip would be. The Baton Rouge native also wanted to learn more about Silicon Valley.

“This trip helped me realize that mechanical engineers can work in the tech industry,” Williams said. “I thought it was mainly for computer scientists.”

Similarly, Haley Tatum, a computer science junior from Slidell, La., thought the trip would be a great opportunity to see the technology industry in a different light.

“I realized I wanted to work for a company that is using technology to make a real change, instead of changing technology to impact humans,” Tatum said. “It is crazy that technology is influencing industries [in ways] we never imagined.”

Over the course of the trip, students received valuable advice from alumni and professionals who are currently in the workforce.

Claire Palmer, a computer science junior from Baton Rouge, said every company emphasized how import it is to get internships and experience.

“They acknowledged that getting a degree and a good GPA is important,” she said. “But they also stressed how important it is to gain some type of experience before graduating.”

Something different stuck with Tatum, however.

An alumnus who works at Nest Thermostats encouraged the students to be honest during their job interviews.

“When he recruits, he asks people what their strengths and weaknesses are,” Tatum said. “He would rather a person be honest so he can see if they are a good fit for the company. If he thinks they are a great fit, he could find another job for the individual somewhere in the company.”

In addition to it being a great learning experience, each student agreed that the trip brought them closer together as a community of engineering students.

“One of the best parts of this trip had nothing to do with learning. It was bonding with other engineering students on this trip,” Palmer said. “We pass by one another each day in the halls and sit in the same lectures but never really got to know each other.”

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Article by Raven Nichols, communications intern. For more information contact Josh Duplechain, director of communications, at