From August 1st- 4th, one hundred of the brightest university students from across the country were selected to attend ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza, an in-depth tour of Chicago’s bustling and ever growing tech scene. Of the one-hundred students accepted to partake, thirteen of them came from the University of Illinois.
The program was kicked off with panels and presentations at Google Chicago featuring Chicago-based technologists and entrepreneurs, including Obama for America 2012 CTO Harper Reed, Siri founder Dag Kittlaus, BrightTag CTO Eric Lunt, Google Engineering Manager Brian Fitzpatrick, and founder of Starter League, Neal Sales-Griffin.
Students also attended a company showcase featuring leaders and engineers from over twenty companies. The showcase was hosted at 1871, a fairly new addition to the windy city where Chicago’s most talented digital designers, engineers and entrepreneurs go to share ideas, shape new technologies, and essentially change the world.
Along with the company showcase, participants of ThinkChicago went on a Chicago Architecture Boat Tour, visited IBM Chicago Headquarters, as well as a variety of innovative startups and other technology companies. Needless to say, University of Illinois students were eager to be a part of this rare networking opportunity.
“A panel by Rahm Emanuel, Brad Keywell, Mike Evans, and Eric Lunt in Champaign a year ago caused me to notice how Chicago was fostering entrepreneurship”, says Jason Goldman, a University of Illinois student. “After attending ThinkChicago events and Startup Weekend at 1871, I am amazed by the vibrancy and growth of the tech scene in Chicago. ThinkChicago was a great opportunity to not only connect with talented entrepreneurs in Chicago, but also fantastic students from all across the country.”
On top of getting an in-depth look into Chicago’s tech scene, students also got a front row view of Chicago’s music scene! Each student attending ThinkChicago received a ticket to Lollapalooza, a 3-day music festival in Millennium Park featuring some of the world’s most renowned artists, like Mumford & Sons, Major Lazer, Kendrick Lamar, and The Lumineers.
As if getting tickets to the famed 3-day music festival wasn’t exciting enough, the students also took part in a panel discussion on “Music and Technology” with the producers and creators of Lollapalooza, received a backstage tour, and took a group picture on the main stage where over two-hundred thousand music lovers came to watch their favorite artists perform.
ThinkChicago is a collaboration with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, World Business Chicago, ChicagoNEXT, 1871, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center (CEC), Chicago Ideas Week, University of Illinois, Google Chicago, Motorola Mobility, Sears Holdings, Built In Chicago, Illinois Technology Association (ITA), and Lollapalooza.