New Initiative Focused on Serving and Learning in Silicon Valley
Gordon College announces the Bay Area Project—a three-year initiative, beginning this semester, founded on the goal of raising up the next generation of Christian leaders in San Francisco’s Bay Area while creating new career opportunities for Gordon students. As part of the College’s Faith Rising comprehensive campaign, the Bay Area Project will give Gordon students the opportunity to participate in a semester-long internship, a career expedition or an intensive summer program each year.
01. Semester-long internships
Open to eight students of any major, the semester-long internships are secured through the College’s new partnership with Transforming the Bay with Christ (TBC). TBC seeks to equip and connect leaders in the Bay Area to catalyze a gospel movement that results in spiritual and societal transformation. TBC will work to open doors for new and exciting internships that align with each student’s area of study.
02. Career expeditions
Career expeditions, more commonly known as treks or externships, are designed for students in any major to explore their calling in the professional world. Expeditions allow a group of students to preview a particular vocation through direct contact with a professional in that field. The Bay Area Project will support one expedition during fall quad break and a second during spring break for a total of 24 students (12 per expedition).
03. Intensive summer program
Still in the early stage of development, the intensive summer program will provide students with practical hard skill development in data science and analysis with mentorship from a career professional in the Bay Area.
Two Gordon students, Janel Hicks ’21 and Tytus Moen ’21, are already participating in the semester-long internships aspect of the Bay Area Project. Hicks will be working for an event production company as an operations intern, where she’ll learn how to produce big events for corporations from start to finish. “Along the way, I will be given networking opportunities within San Francisco and will learn how to integrate my faith with my work,” she says. “This program is giving me the chance to practice independence and get a sneak peek of what life after Gordon will be like.”
Boston to the Bay Area: Commonalities Across Coasts
Silicon Valley has captured public imagination as a hub of innovation and technological advancement. An area brimming with top-notch universities, businesses, social movements, cultural venues and careers targeting global change, it is ripe with opportunity. Organizations in the Bay Area of San Francisco aren’t afraid to dream, move forward with big ideas, ask hard questions and work to solve tough problems. So, it’s no surprise that the advancements discovered there often influence the rest of the world.
Across the nation on the North Shore of Boston—another city growing in technological advancement and innovative higher education—Gordon is developing servant-leaders with the heart, curiosity, enthusiasm and bravery to tackle the world’s most pressing questions. How can everyone on Earth have access to clean water? What technology can we develop to make life easier for those with special needs? How can we participate in the cultural and economic crosscurrents that exist in our own backyards? At Gordon, students are asking some of the very questions asked by tech companies in Silicon Valley, while being supported by a caring and grounding community of faculty and staff.
These bi-coastal areas boast similar advancements—but also similar gaps. A 2015 report on churchless cities ranked the Bay Area as the most unchurched urban center in the United States (61%), with the greater Boston area nipping at its heels (#3 at 53%). Opportunity abounds for career and gospel advancement in these areas.
Now, these worlds collide with a new opportunity for Gordon students to serve and learn in the vibrant community of the Bay Area. After three years of thoughtful conversation and prayerful consideration, the College partnered with Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, a global leader in technology, as well as Ted ’88 and Sara Lucas and Dante ’80 and Melanie ’82 Rutstrom to develop this new initiative that will equip visionary leaders to bring about Christ-centered change in strategic areas of the country.
“Gordon College has a unique mission: to prepare compassionate problem-solvers for a world of problems,” said Gelsinger at a Conversation with the President event last fall. “I expect Gordon students to solve the global water crisis before thinking about the valued Harvard MBA. They will change and save lives through their testimonies.”
The Bay Area Project “will bring young and bright Christians into the workplace in San Francisco, and I am excited to see how this collaborative relationship continues to grow,” echoes Nancy Ortburg, president of TBC.
Gordon’s sister institution Westmont College has generously partnered to provide housing through their San Francisco Urban Semester program.
Interested students should contact Dan.Tymann@gordon.edu for more information.