Silicon Valley has captured public imagination as a hub of innovation and technological advancement. An area brimming with top-notch universities, businesses, social movements, cultural venues and careers targeting global change, it is ripe with opportunity. Organizations in the Bay Area aren’t afraid to dream, ask hard questions and work to solve tough problems. So, it’s no surprise that the advancements discovered in the Bay Area often influence the rest of the world.

Yet there is more to the Silicon Valley story. While the larger San Francisco Bay Area has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, still 22 percent of people there live below the poverty line, and 51 percent of third graders cannot read at a third grade reading level.

Across the nation on the North Shore of Boston—another city growing in technological advancement and innovative higher education—Gordon College is developing servant-leaders with the heart, curiosity, enthusiasm and bravery to tackle the world’s most pressing questions: How can everyone on Earth have access to clean water? What technology can we develop to make life easier for those with special needs? How can we participate in the cultural and economic crosscurrents that exist in our own backyards? At Gordon, students are asking some of the very questions asked by tech companies in Silicon Valley, while being supported by a caring and grounding community of faculty and staff.

Bringing Gordon to the Bay Area

Now, these worlds collide with a new opportunity for Gordon students to serve in the vibrant community of the Bay Area. After three years of thoughtful conversation and prayerful consideration, Gordon College has partnered with Pat Gelsinger, CEO of VMware, a global leader in technology, as well as Ted ’88 and Sara Lucas and Dante ’80 and Melanie ’82 Rutstrom to develop the Bay Area Project—a three-year initiative founded on the goal of raising up the next generation of Christian leaders in the Bay Area.

Each year, the Bay Area Project will give eight Gordon students the opportunity to participate in a semester-long internship, a career expedition or an intensive summer program which will provide them with hands-on experiences to put their knowledge into practice and gain “hard skills” that will prepare them for their vocational callings.

The semester-long internships are open to students of any major, and are secured through the College’s new partnership with Transforming the Bay with Christ (TBC), orchestrated with the help of lead donor and Chairman of TBC Pat Gelsinger. TBC seeks to equip and connect leaders in the Bay Area to catalyze a gospel movement that results in spiritual and societal transformation. TBC will work to open doors for new and exciting internship locations and opportunities that are complimentary to and consistent with the student’s area of study.

“I am so excited about this partnership between TBC and Gordon College,” says Nancy Ortburg, president of TBC. “It will bring young and bright Christians into the workplace in San Francisco, and I am excited to see how this collaborative relationship continues to grow.”

Additionally, career expeditions are designed for students in any major of study to explore their calling in the professional world. Expeditions, more commonly known as treks or externships, allow a group of students to explore a particular vocation through direct contact with professionals in the field. The Bay Area Project will support one expedition during fall quad break and a second during spring break for a total of 24 students (12 per expedition), focusing  specifically on a single field, but open to all students within the major.

The intensive summer program, still in the early stage of development, will provide students with practical hard skill development in data science and analysis with mentorship from a career professional in the Bay Area.

Compassion + Opportunity = Change

Gelsinger spoke of this powerful opportunity at an open panel discussion with President D. Michael Lindsay last semester. “Gordon College has a unique mission: to prepare compassionate problem-solvers for a world of problems,” said Gelsinger. “I expect Gordon students to solve the global water crisis before thinking about the valued Harvard MBA. They will change and save lives through their testimonies.”

Looking forward to the future, Gordon will continue to seek out new partnerships that provide hands-on learning opportunities that offer professional insight and character growth—thanks to financial supporters, alumni and friends of the College.

The Bay Area bi-coastal partnership with Gordon College matches compassion with opportunity and creates visionary leaders who will bring about Christ-centered change in our impoverished world.

For more information, please contact Dan Tymann at dan.tymann@gordon.edu.