The Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) sent 12 students to Silicon Valley in California during the University’s Spring Break to visit technology start-ups and businesses for the Spring Break in Silicon Valley.

“I’m extremely grateful to the staff and the iSchool at Syracuse University for this trip,” said iSchool graduate student Elizabeth Ruscitto G’12. “Even if I had spent a month out in Silicon Valley on my own, I would not have been able to have the level of access, hold as meaningful conversations or create new networks, than I did during the five days of Spring Break in Silicon Valley.”

Ruscitto was just one student who tweeted and blogged about her experiences visiting the businesses on the tour, including LinkedIn, The Technology Museum of Innovation, eBay, Shasta Ventures, 500 Startups, Facebook, Google,, Delivery Agent, LiveFyre, and Klout.

She accompanied iSchool students Mone Clark ‘14, Steve Marquez ’11, Hillary Maxwell ’11, Anne Marie Suchanek ’13, and Richard Tehan ’12; Jason Blanck G’12 of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications; Terence Nip ’14 and Jeffrey Sweeney ’12 of the L.C. Smith College of Engineering; Barbara Rodriguez G’11 of the Maxwell School of Syracuse University; Daniel Russell ’11 and Matthew Werbeck ’11 of LeMoyne College; iSchool Director of West Coast Relationships Shay Colson, and Director of Undergraduate Recruitment Julie Walas.

“It was really good, especially because I’m from New York City, to see the way the west coast handles business,” said Suchanek, an iSchool sophomore who as a result of a knee injury sustained the day before the trip, limped her way through the eleven businesses. “I saw work environments and philosophies on both the work-life balance and going green you just don’t see on the east coast. Now I have to convince my parents to let me go there for an internship.”

The group tweeted their way through offices, meeting with employees to hear about their experiences working for the various companies in Silicon Valley and spotting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg working on his computer.

“With every stop the students were able to not only see, but experience the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Silicon Valley,” said Walas. “While exciting, this environment and the trip in general, really challenged students to step out of their comfort zones and ask themselves some tough questions about their own future plans. It was incredible to watch their development over the five days we were together and witness the group learn and grow together.”

The students will present on their travels and experience during the two-day student-entrepreneur conference Emerging Talk on Thursday, March 31, 2011, at 4:00 p.m. at the Syracuse Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse.

“I’m really excited to see and hear what the students have to say about the trip,” said Colson, who organized and led the students through their Silicon Valley journey. “They came away from San Francisco buzzing with ideas that will hopefully reverberate back in Syracuse.”