ESTEEM in Silicon Valley: The Adventure Begins!

Author: Laura Shute

After months of meticulous planning, coordinating flights and weekend plans, preparing a first draft of our full thesis document (!!), enjoying a weekend somewhere in the lovely US of A, and hopping on a plane to California, 39 ESTEEM students have finally arrived in Silicon Valley ready to soak in the entrepreneurial wisdom and experience that can only be gained by following in the footsteps of real entrepreneurs.

Midterms week concluded with the submission of all chapters and appendices of our thesis as well as departure of ESTEEM students to various destinations for 48 hours of a “typical spring break.” Thanks to the hospitality and generosity of ESTEEMer and resident Idahoan Jordan’s family, I and 11 others spent a few days in a cabin up in McCall, Idaho among some beautiful mountains and great company. A birthday celebration, some fun in Boise, and an early-morning scramble to the airport later, we arrived in our hotel in Mountain View. Even our Uber driver was a budding entrepreneur developing a nutritional supplement company- we knew we had arrived in the heart of the Valley!


We commenced our week in Silicon Valley with an opening dinner hosting representatives from the Career Center as well as Richard and Barbara Pivnicka, our gracious hosts for a great event later this week. ESTEEMers discussed their weekend adventures and the week’s upcoming events over pasta and cheesecake and headed back to the hotel for some rest and relaxation to prep for a hectic but enlightening week in the Valley.

We have plenty of great events to look forward to this week: tomorrow, we’ll meet Aisling MacRunnels (a software entrepreneur) as well as Pamela Contag (a biomedical sciences entrepreneur), participate in a class taught by Stanford’s Dr. Burton Lee discussing space innovation, and network with some ESTEEM alums working in startups and consulting positions in the valley; looking ahead, the week will bring ESTEEM pitches to real Silicon Valley VCs, opportunities to shadow entrepreneurs in San Francisco and other locations in the Valley, visits to some cutting-edge companies such as Facebook and Uber, and plenty of opportunities to learn from entrepreneurs who can teach us best by their example. Thanks to the Notre Dame network, we have some fantastic opportunities this week- and have every intention to take full advantage of our time in California.

This week, South Bend takes Silicon Valley- let’s do this! #sbtakessv