By Jeanna Clark, Student Contributor
Do you have LGBT pride? Are you interested in a career in technology or business? Do you want access to a powerful network of mentors and recruiters for Fortune 100 companies? If you answered yes to those questions, then Out 4 Undergrad University Program is the opportunity of a lifetime for you!
Out 4 Undergrad (O4U) is a national program aimed at providing LGBT undergraduates with a unique opportunity to develop as leaders in the fields of technology and business. This competitive year long program exists to provide ambitious university students with LGBT mentors and support in order to gain confidence in their careers. Students who participate in the O4U University Program will be inducted into the year long program, and they split into business or technology focused groups. Each group has a unique curriculum aimed to develop students understanding of career opportunities in the field. In addition to the curriculum, the program sponsors students to attend the annual O4U technology conference in Silicon Valley (San Francisco) or the O4U business conference on Wall Street (New York City).
The O4U technology curriculum focuses on introduces participants to the various career paths available in technology and morphs into a focused forum on developing yourself for the path you select. Example technology path options include data science, computer engineering, product manager, designer, or researcher. After you select a path based on all the content the O4U team provides, the curriculum delves into exploring the industry, interviewing, diversifying, and much more! The annual technology conference is held in the fall at a Silicon Valley tech company (this year Twitter hosted and the previous two years were hosted by Facebook). The conference schedule is oriented towards your chosen career path.
The three major groups are data science, software engineering, and design / non technical. These groups have break out sessions over the weekend with LGBT industry professionals who host panels for various topics and question and answer sessions. All of these professionals want to be our mentors – so the experience in invaluable! In addition to all the information, the conference is a recruiting fair. All the sponsors who paid for our experience now want to hire us! Interviews from Facebook, Twitter, GE, Google, Yahoo!, Two Sigma, et cetera.
The experience is unmatched, and the Ivy League school (Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, et cetera) attendees said their career fairs barely come close to the opportunities we were given. The best part of the conference was a three week long hackathon where students were placed in teams of six and asked to create a startup. The teams pitched their startups to top industry venture capitalists that judged us and provided feedback. The experience and feedback was amazing!
The O4U business conference offers very similar opportunities to its participants.The curriculum is setup in the same manner, and career paths offered are consulting, banking, or management. I cannot speak to its conference, but I know all the major consulting and banks were present at the career fair! The opportunity to work for them is normally exclusive to big name schools, so the O4U university program is a wonderful back door option for those of us who have not been fortunate enough to attend top tier universities.
The O4U University Program will change your life. It offers life changing recruiting, development, and mentors to participants. I’m a student at Seattle Central, just like you, and I’m currently in the O4U technology University Program. I was thrilled to be accepted to the program, and the program officers at the conference have asked me to share my experience with my peers. They want to expand the organization and gain a more diverse participant base. Apply – you have nothing to lose!
Instagram photos here.