New event offers college students "speed-dating" opportunity with local tech companies

This Friday, Ann Arbor SPARK will provide 120 local college students an opportunity to network with local technology companies during the A2 Student Trek 2019.


Barracuda, TD Ameritrade, Nutshell, and Pillar are just a few companies involved in the inaugural event, which evolved out of a previous event called the Ann Arbor Discovery Trek. Students in all disciplines are welcome at the free event, which is now sold out.


Participants will have a curated experience starting at SPARK Central where they will engage with representatives from about 10 companies ranging from startups to larger firms.


"The students will be broken up into groups and these groups will interact and network with the companies in the same way people do at a speed-dating event," says Phil Santer, SPARK’s senior vice president of business development.


Afterwards, attendees will be whisked away to a series of technology businesses around town. They’ll be given a behind-the-scenes, firsthand, experiential look at those companies.


Santer stresses that SPARK has slated more than the usual, run-of-the-mill company presentations. The firms will be encouraging students to directly engage with them.


Ideally, students should leave with an understanding of the challenges they would be working on if they were to choose a career at any of the participating companies.


"Additionally, I hope it plants the seed of recognition in our local students that there are lots of fulfilling and interesting career options in Ann Arbor," Santer says.


Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at


Photos courtesy of SPARK.

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