TSEP Overnight Camping Conference

The Social Engineering Project, Inc. ("TSEP") is an Oakland based, Google and Microsoft funded social impact venture with Stanford University designed to address the lack of diversity in the tech industry through STEM pipeline programs for underrepresented students of color.

TSEP Overnight Camping Conference 2018 is a weekend long conference for high school students of color throughout Northern California (San Jose, Oakland, and Sacramento Areas) designed to motivate and inspire them to go to college, pursue a STEM related career, learn about entrepreneurship, and learn how to network effectively.  The students are free from the typical technological distractions (there is no signal, no Internet connectivity, no texting or Wi-Fi) and become one with nature.  

To motivate and inspire underrepresented minority high schools students to go to college, major in STEM related disciplines, and expose them to various career pathways in the technology industry. Moreover, by being in the wilderness and away from technological distractions, the students will also learn about the environment and work/life balance. Lastly, the students will learn about entrepreneurship, personal branding, and networking.

Key Outcomes:
Desire to go to college;
Pursue STEM related careers;
Develop a deeper respect for the environment;
Learn how to apply to college, excel on exams, financial aid, college life;
Learn about their personal brand, how to work in teams, entrepreneurship, and how to network for future collaboration.

Weekend Details:

Day 1:
On the first day, the students begin the weekend by being segregated by gender and geographic regions in cabins. They participate in ice breakers and team building exercises. Lastly, they experience their first camp fire and partake in s'mores

Day 2:
During the second day, the students participate in workshops organized by various companies such as Microsoft (last year’s lead sponsor), Northrop Grumman, PG&E, Walmart Labs, GoPro, Cisco/ Meraki, etc. about the types of technology these companies produce and what it is like working there, in order to motivate and inspire the students to pursue careers in technological fields.Last year, there were 3 sets of 7 workshops for about 15-20 students each, which included: Microsoft’s Azure Group focused on developing project management skills by using a real-life bug problem and how to prioritize/allocate resources (hours) to fix it. in response to what was her favorite workshop and why, Brinda A. said, “My favorite workshop was the Microsoft workshop because it allowed me to act as a developer and learn about work as a developer.”

Northrop Grumman showed the students various submarines that they build, how important gears are in their line of work, and how integral every member of their team is (from procurement to the head engineer). Many of the students enjoyed their hands-on activities.
GoPro’s workshop demonstrated how they stabilize their drones in order to take steady video and how they test their products for things such as water resistance.

Regarding Cisco-Meraki’s workshop, James M. said, “My favorite workshop was the Meraki automation class because I didn't know how wireless things really program.”

PG&E did a workshop on its remediation project and it was so impactful, that Jada N. had this to say, “I went in to the trip slightly apprehensive because I had never thought about a career in engineering before, but after the trip I have a new found interest and appreciation for the field. My cabin and I went to the PG&E workshop and because of what I learned there, I have a new interest in the cleanup they do regarding old oil and gas manufacturing sites.

Finally, the Artisan Hub taught our students the concepts behind 3D printing using construction paper and wrapping large books. Jossalin D. said, “I really liked the 3D printing because they kept me embattled the whole time.”

Lastly, the students went on a hike to gain a greater appreciation for the environment and their role in preserving it. They also learn the importance of work life balance.

Day 3:
On the last day, representatives from U.C. Berkeley went over the application/admissions process for college, including succeeding with standardized testing, financial aid, and personal statements. Furthermore, the students learn about the importance of networking by connecting with their cabin- mates and other members of the camp via LinkedIn, personal branding, and entrepreneurship.

Our lead sponsor backed out of funding the conference this year, and we are forced to charge our students 85% of what the actual campsite actually charges TSEP.  This does not include transportation, staffing, supplies, and other costs needed to run the camp.  Moreover, it does not allow us to offset the tuition for economic hardship needs.  

The actual cost per student is $250 per person and we are only charging parents $125.  This GoFundMe is to help offset the cost of tuition and provide hardship scholarships for students who cannot afford the tuition.  Any donation is welcome!  This year's camp is October 5-7, 2018, so time is of the essence.  

Many thanks and please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.  

Very truly yours,


Kevin L. Nichols
Founder, President & CEO
The Social Engineering Project, Inc.

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Kevin Nichols 
Oakland, CA

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