My Week in ESTEEM - Week 22

Author: Chardee Allee

Chardee AlleeChardee Allee

Welcome back to "My Week in ESTEEM" where students reflect upon their experiences in our program. This week's blog is brought to us by Chardee Allee, a graduate from the University of Arizona, who discusses her week before Spring Break. 

With spring break only a few days away, we had almost made it. We were all about to leave for The Valley but that did not mean that the work had stopped. With the first full draft of our thesis due on Thursday and projects due throughout the week, there remained plenty of work to finish before the break.

Throughout my education, I have had to work on numerous group projects but nothing has compared to the amount of collaboration that I’ve gone through in the ESTEEM program. With 39 of us in the class, I believe we have all worked with each other in some form of a group project at one point or another and this week was no exception. Sunday I met with my group for the project we needed to complete in our Product Development class. In this project, we were working on developing requirements for a Group B Streptococcus Test, a bacterial infection that pregnant women need to be screened for in order to ensure that their children won’t be dangerously infected upon childbirth.


On Monday, I finalized work with my Social Entrepreneurship group where we prepared two presentations, one for Monday and one for Wednesday. The whole focus for this class was to discuss businesses that have a social mission. We discussed companies like Toms and Patagonia having class discussions around the complexity of social entrepreneurship. Is it possible to have a social mission while remaining a for profit organization? Where is the line drawn where a company can be considered having a strong enough social mission? Are these companies really only focused on the resulting good press? Is there a point where this mission does more harm than good? The example used here is Toms shoes with their “buy one, give one” model where every pair of shoes purchased means a pair of shoes is donated to someone who does not have any. Through this model, is Toms really alleviating “shoe poverty” or are they just taking away the job of the shoe makers in these rural areas? An extremely interesting class, our presentations focused on diving deeper into some of these mission based companies and organizations.

Beyond working on final projects and my thesis, I continued to train for our legacy bike ride that is to take place in early May. The goal is to bike roughly 400 miles from Louisville, Kentucky back to South Bend, Indiana. With a small relay planned, most of us are not aiming to bike the entire distance but copious amounts of training are still required! Along with time in the gym training, the bike ride planning team also met one final time before spring break to check in on progress for planning the event. We finalized some details and continued to brainstorm fundraising ideas and suggestions for potential marketing materials.


During the week, Mark Roche and I also had the opportunity to take a potential future ESTEEM student to lunch in order to share our experiences and answer any questions she may have about the program. With nothing but enthusiasm this potential ESTEEMer was eager to learn all about our time in the program. 

When Thursday rolled around, it was hard to believe that spring break still hadn’t started. Putting final touches onto my first full thesis draft I began to pack and get my apartment in order so I would be ready to leave Friday once my Technical Elective, Digital Signal Processing, ended. Hopping on the bus to Chicago on Friday to catch my flight, spring break had finally arrived. San Francisco here I come!