Group of students in the Seattle Spheres building.

Seattle Experience 2024

A faculty-led alternative spring break trip offering real-world insights from and connections to industry, government, and non-profit organizations.

Your degree does not define your potential.

Opportunities abound in today’s complex society, but how does an anthropologist become a data scientist? Can biology help you pursue a career in customer support? What skills does an English major use to become a business leader?

The Seattle Experience is designed to foster curiosity and prime you for possibilities yet unknown.


Submissions for 2024 are now closed.


Please email Professor Jeff Sanders.

Spring 2024

A cohort of 12-15 undergraduate students will spend five days in the urban environment of the Seattle metro area, meet with workers, volunteers, and leaders to learn about their successes and challenges, and experience first-hand the breadth of opportunity for all majors.

Sunday, March 10–Thursday, March 14

Theme: Resilence

What does it mean for an individual, a household, or a city, to be “resilient”?

How do we build more resilient communities in the face of profound social and ecological challenges?

Resilience may describe our response to everything from individual well-being to our often-nebulous commitments to mitigating the effects of climate change. Building resilience could mean access to shelter, food security, healthcare, and transportation as well as renewable energy or preservation of open space, for instance.

The 2024 Seattle Experience will focus on the theme of resilience, broadly defined. Engaging with NGOs, corporations, employers, and stakeholders, we will learn about how they define resilience in practice.

Along the way we will consider how individual fields of study within the College of Arts and Sciences may help us contribute to achieving a more resilient society.  

All students selected for the Seattle Experience must:

  • Be enrolled as a full-time WSU undergraduate student (any campus)
  • Be an admitted student in a bachelor’s degree program offered by the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Attend all pre- and post-trip meetings:
    • February 28 and March 6; 5:00–7:00 p.m.
    • March 27; 5:00–7:00 p.m.
  • Be on time for and participate in all of the planned Seattle Experience activities.

The Spring 2024 itinerary is in development. See the Spring 2023 itinerary for an example of the type of activities that are included.

The Seattle Experience is supported by generous alumni donors and there is no cost to participate. Lunch and activity transportation (as needed) will be provided each day. Participants will be responsible for arranging their own transportation, accommodation, and other meals and will receive a stipend of $2,700 in advance of the trip to use for this purpose.

Each cohort will be designed to include a broad scope of academic pursuits and personal experiences.

To apply, you’ll need:

  • Your current resume in a Word or PDF format.
  • Name and email for two WSU references (faculty or staff members). A third non-WSU reference may also be provided (optional).

The application includes several short-answer questions (each 100 words or less). We recommend you create your responses in advance and then copy-and-paste them in the application. The questions are:

  • Why do you want to participate in the Seattle Experience program?
  • What are your areas of interest and your career goals or ambitions?
  • How do you anticipate this program will help you move forward in your career goals?
  • What do you think/feel/question when you hear the word “resilience”?

Submissions for 2024 are now closed.


Please email Professor Jeff Sanders.

2023 Itinerary

Built around the theme “Belonging,” the cohort of undergraduate students explored many facets of urban life.

Sunday: Visit the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI)

Monday: The Market and the State of the City

Tuesday: History, Industry, and Belonging

  • Tour Amazon Spheres
  • Meet with Amazon recruiters about the hiring processes and opportunities
  • Meet with MOHAI curators, archivists, and collections managers
  • Town Hall meeting on health and houselessness in Seattle

Wednesday: Legacies of Exclusion and Building Belonging

  • Tour Denshō, a digital-born, video oral history project about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII.
  • Meet with City of Seattle government officials
  • Evening talk: “Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound”

Thursday: Finding Belonging in Large Organizations

Seattle spheres building.
Seattle Experience group at Pike Place Market.