Jayhawks explore Seattle tech scene during two-day networking trip

(Guest post by Foster Casterline) At 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 27, 14 KU information systems students crammed into our cars and departed for Kansas City International Airport. Ahead of us was a two-day networking adventure to one of the most vibrant technology communities in the world: Seattle. We each had expectations going in, but

Last month the Kansas City Startup Village helped send 14 ISAK—Information Systems Association of KU—students to Seattle to network and learn from some of the city’s most prominent companies. 

Foster Casterline, a University of Kansas student who helped organize ISAK’s trip, shared his thoughts on the experience and what he thinks students can learn from the coasts. 


Last month the Kansas City Startup Village helped fund a trip for 14 ISAK students to Seattle.

At 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 27, 14 KU information systems students crammed into our cars and departed for Kansas City International Airport.

Ahead of us was a two-day networking adventure to one of the most vibrant technology communities in the world: Seattle. We each had expectations going in, but prepared for two things: lots of rain and an incredible experience.

Our agenda included office visits at Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon and Deloitte Digital. In addition to an already packed schedule, we were to host an alumni happy hour at a swanky downtown brewery. With all of this looming before us, we knew the next two days would be more exhausting than finals week, but our excitement would more than compensate. 

This trip served two purposes: expose our current students to leaders in the technology world and draw more attention to the information systems major.

The companies we met with play a major role in the Seattle technology community, and we were there to learn what made them successful. Given the distance gap between Kansas City and Seattle, our students had not been exposed to these companies, at least directly. ISAK has been busy building relationships with companies and startups in our community, but will continue to expand our reach. The more relationships we can build, the more value we can provide our students. 

If there’s one lesson that was echoed throughout our trip, it was that our students are well positioned to become business intelligence and information security specialists, technical project managers, product developers and business leaders within a technology company. Taking our students to visit with big-name companies will highlight to those still deciding on a major what the opportunities are for information systems majors. Also, the spurred technology growth in Kansas City will allow our technology-minded business students to provide value locally.

We greatly appreciate the KC Startup Village’s willingness to invest in our students, helping us explore communities beyond our own. We look forward to applying this experience to help drive Kansas City forward.

A shoutout goes to our wonderful chaperone, Jennifer Jordan, for keeping her cool—kind of—while navigating a packed 15-person van around Seattle and through very small parking garages.

KU students met with leaders from companies like Boeing, Amazon, Microsoft and Deloitte Digital (pictured above) during their two-day trip.

The group poses outside Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. 

For more photos of ISAK’s trip to Seattle, visit the group’s online album.


Credits: Photos courtesy of Foster Casterline.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT!

Sign up to receive daily updates in your inbox.