My week in ESTEEM started in sunny San Francisco and ended in snowy South Bend, to say my wardrobe is confused right now would be an
understatement. As Monday’s go, mine was pretty interesting and consisted of a day of intense interviewing at a late stage tech startup in San Francisco. After some San Franciscan Sushi (always a necessity when getting out of the Midwest) I took my fried brain back to South Bend via two red-eye flights and a quick nap in Detroit airport. I landed early Tuesday morning, exhausted but excited to head to Dennis Boyle’s talk later that day. Dennis Boyle is one of the original founders of the design and innovation firm, IDEO and more importantly a Notre Dame alum (A.B.N). Dennis spoke about his journey to date and the role of design thinking and entrepreneurial insights in healthcare. He emphasized the power of empathy in generating ideas and empowered his entrepreneurial audience to constantly put ourselves in our customer’s shoes to effectively solve problems.
Inspired by Dennis’s talk, on Wednesday I caught up on some thesis customer interviews and writing and also my part time job at the library research desk. On Thursday we had our ESTEEM Friendsgiving which was organized by planner (and turkey) extraordinaires, Nancy Nguyen and Sarah Prezek. Everyone brought different dishes and no one left hungry or thirsty, for that matter. Being Irish I chipped in with some mashed potatoes but my personal highlight was Zachary Hickey’s death by chocolate pudding which consisted of a person’s calorie intake for the entire Holiday period. We had a Friday lunchtime talk from Tim Jenks, CEO of NeoPhotonics a Silicon Valley based Optoelectronics company. Tim gave us his top tips to be successful entrepreneurs, some of which included the importance of selling and surrounding yourself with smart people. Late Friday evening
the family of seven Irish (plus outlier brave Cole Cravath) headed to the Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra’s Fall concert. The Orchestra gave renditions of Adagio for Strings (a nice surprise for the techno lovers) and a collection of some West Side Story instrumentals. We left DPAC far more sophisticated than when we arrived. Game weekends are always fun at Notre Dame and continuing with the musical theme of the evening we headed to the Midnight Drummer’s Circle, despite the dropping temperatures.
After anxiously anticipating the snow for months, it finally arrived on Saturday morning! This is my first ‘proper’ winter and I am terrified that the last two years in California have ruined my capabilities to endure the much talked about South Bend ‘lake effect’ and ‘wind chill’. Layering up we headed towards the stadium for our last Notre Dame home game of the Season against Virginia Tech. Margot Hughan and her parents hosted the tailgate with a selection of food brought from San Francisco, a real treat for us all. Michael Sedor’s family were also visiting and it was great to see them all share the same passion for Michael’s SolidWorks skills. Our spirits were high as we cheered on Notre Dame amidst a marshmallow snow storm (a tradition for ND seniors) and huddled together to brave the temperatures. Despite the disappointing game result, the festivities continued in the Irish House with DJ Brendan Hughes dropping ‘Fairytale of New York’ which took the celebrations to new levels.
This week, as with most, was a lot of fun! Next week I am headed to Nashville for Thanksgiving and a chance to explore more of the South. I am excited about the lead up to the Holiday season at Notre Dame and will be obnoxiously blasting Christmas tunes and attending every festive themed event on campus for the next month.