New San Francisco Immersion Program for Journalists and Engineers
Program challenges students to learn from and contribute to the Bay Area’s entrepreneurial culture
BY AMANDA MORRIS
As technology and media become increasingly intertwined, Northwestern University is preparing its students to thrive at the intersection.
The Bay Area Immersion Experience will send 24 students — 12 from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and 12 from the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications — to San Francisco for the winter 2017 quarter.
Based in the new Northwestern educational space at 44 Montgomery St. in downtown San Francisco, the program takes advantage of the region’s booming tech, media, and startup scene. Students will be challenged to learn from and contribute to the Bay Area’s entrepreneurial culture through a customized immersion experience.
Together as a cohort, students will take four courses that focus on experiential learning in areas such as design innovation, digital communication, and the intersection of technology and culture. Led by Northwestern Engineering’s Elizabeth Gerber, associate professor of mechanical engineering, design, and communication, and Medill’s Owen Youngman, professor and Knight Chair in Digital Media Strategy, courses include:
- Communication Design: A studio-based course with a focus on developing students’ visual and interactive design skill sets.
- The Googlization of American Media: A course that investigates how Google’s success and ideas have causes dramatic changes not only in journalism and media but also in business and culture.
- Design Innovation Practicum: A project-based course in which student teams will apply the design process to a challenge posed by a local client or industry partner.
- Media Innovation in Silicon Valley: Teams of engineering and journalism students will collaborate to investigate the roles, importance, and users of six San Francisco media companies, as well as the challenges presented by six Silicon Valley-oriented news and business topics.
Beyond coursework, students will participate in co-curricular activities coordinated by the program’s faculty and staff. These might include field trips to local companies, workshops, and cultural programming intended to give students more exposure to San Francisco and build a community with one another.