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Experiential Learning

Peak to Peak: The Pacific Northwest

What is Peak 2 Peak?

Peak 2 Peak is a week-long travel program that takes place in Seattle, WA and Portland, OR. It is a sister program to the iSchool’s well-known Spring Break in Silicon Valley and Entretech NYC programs.

Peak 2 Peak will give you a firsthand look at the companies, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists, and their way of life (both personal and professional) in the Pacific Northwest. Participating students will connect with Syracuse University alumni living and working in Seattle and Portland.

Potential visits include: Starbucks, Nike, Intel, Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, Smarsh, and more!


What Does A Typical Day on Peak 2 Peak Look Like?

  • 7:00 - 9:00 a.m. - Wake up and eat breakfast at hotel with Syracuse University alumni
  • 9:30 - 11:00 a.m. - Visit Company 1
  • 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Visit Company 2
  • 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. - Lunch and visit at Company 3
  • 3:00 - 3:30 p.m. - Coffee break
  • 3:45 - 5:00 p.m. - Visit Company 4
  • 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. - Interactive activity that may include snacks with Company 5
  • 7:30 - 9:00 p.m. - Dinner and nighttime cultural element
  • 9:30 - 10:30 p.m. - Debrief at the hotel

Why is Peak 2 Peak Important?

For students to:

  • Learn what you want in your future career
  • Distinguish what you like in a city
  • Learn what recruiters are looking for
  • Connect within a company
  • Deepen connection to Syracuse University through alumni networking

For alumni to:

  • Show off where you work
  • Pay it forward to students who were once in your shoes
  • Meet potential interns and hires
  • Establish relationships within the University after graduating
  • Have a source for focus group studies within your company

For sponsors to:

  • Create a groundbreaking learning style for Syracuse University
  • Foster the connections between alumni and students
  • Pique the interest of alumni in other cities to participate in an immersion program
  • Spread the Orange influence everywhere
  • Influence a current student’s trajectory toward their future careers

What Students Say About Peak 2 Peak

“The privilege we were given to be able to talk to alumni and current employees at both large and small companies provided more real life learning than any class ever will. Whether they consider them their dream job or not their insight was incredibly valuable in identifying aspects that I will come to value in a future employer and work environment.” - Sarah Blanchard, Information Management and Technology '18
“The Peak 2 Peak experience took me into the company and organization culture, which allowed me to understand ideas, people, and organizations. The beauty of the experience is being able to know how technology and business play a role in defining the culture and people of an area." - Alan Nguyen, Information Management and Technology '19
"The 'Orange Nation' is far and wide around the world. I always keep saying that I’m amazed by how Syracuse alumni still have pride for their school even after they graduate. Syracuse alumni are always willing to help us current students here at school.” - Chris Chomicki Information Management and Technology and Computer Science '19
“As it turned out, my idealistic view of this trip was nothing short of reality. Peak 2 Peak brought me clarity about my career path, opportunities to speak to some insanely interesting companies and employees, and, to top it off, Seattle and Portland really are the coolest cities in the world (in my opinion). My trip that summer was so influential and provided me with a view of innovation unlike anything I had ever seen before.” - Kristen Unangst, Supply Chain Management and Finance '18

Peak 2 Peak Course Description

Peak 2 Peak is a 3-credit experience (IDS 460/660: Immersion Experience) that includes a week-long travel program where students study technology and interact with innovative firms and alumni to understand how their best practices may be applied elsewhere.

The Peak 2 Peak cohort will travel to an innovative ecosystem and spend 5 days meeting with information-based organizations. Daily visits will provide the cohort with a well-rounded vision of the innovative ecosystem and its cultural context.

Accordingly, students will be required to study the subject ecosystem and its companies prior to the trip, will need to record their observations during the trip, and provide a reflection piece upon their return. Students will be required to synthesize their observations by creating an infographic on how these companies utilize innovation and sustain themselves.

This course involves travel and significant dedication. Students will be required to travel to the subject ecosystem and will be actively participating in activities from 7:00 am until 10:00 pm for the entirety of the trip. In addition to the approximate 100 contact hours during the trip itself, there are three required pre-meetings several writing assignments, and a final presentation required.


This trip must be taken as a credit-bearing course (3 credits), IDS 460: Immersion Experience.

Program Fee

$750 per student. All interested students should apply, regardless of their ability to pay. The iSchool will work to make this program accessible to all who want to attend.

Admissions Information

Applications for Peak 2 Peak open in the spring semester and the week-long immersion program takes place in August each year.

Peak 2 Peak is a competitive program with limited space.

To be considered for admission, you should have, at the time of application, a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00 on a 4.00 scale. In addition to GPA, we place a strong emphasis on your Experiential Learning statement, to be submitted as part of this application. We are also asking for applicants to submit a short video describing what they envision as the ideal company or organization to visit on this trip. These details are all contained in the application.

Students who participate in this program are expected to not only represent themselves well, but also act as strong ambassadors for Syracuse University. In order for this opportunity to be made available to future students, current students must work to ensure that we are invited back to the companies who host us during this event.

Admissions decisions are based on a full review of the application file, including the transcript, resume, the Experiential Learning statement, short video, and any disciplinary records. Once admitted to the program, you must remain a student in good standing (academic and judicial) to stay eligible to participate in this program.

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