Silicon Valley: Accessibility in the Tech Industry

Location: Silicon Valley, California

Semester: Summer 2022 (tentative)

This week-long study away program takes place over the summer in Silicon Valley, CA. Students will earn 3 credits while focusing on networking and career paths in accessibility. The goal of the program is to introduce students to what accessibility is and why it is important, create opportunities to forge networks and develop possible career paths, connect them with alumni and friends of the College, and get a sense of the place and culture of Silicon Valley.

This program will require students to attend several lectures before and after the trip to Silicon Valley. During those meetings, we will lay the groundwork for what accessibility is, and prepare students to visit industry partners. While in Silicon Valley, students will spend the week visiting Teach Access industry partners, such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Adobe, Microsoft, etc. The week will culminate in small group project presentations to Silicon Valley industry partners

Behind the scenes tours and visits will give students an opportunity to see daily work life at places we are visiting, allowing them to ask specific questions and to participate in professionally productive activities such as pitching project ideas, discussing career trajectories, and portfolio/resume review.

Other benefits of the program include:

  • Gaining an understanding and appreciation for the field of accessibility
  • Connecting students with MSU alumni and friends in Silicon Valley
  • Exploring creative jobs and possible careers in accessibility
  • Seeing workspaces and understanding work processes in the industry
  • Gaining an understanding of local culture and space

Application Deadline: TBD

Dates: TBD; typically one week on site in late May

Eligibility: Students must be in good academic standing. Preference is given to College of Arts & Letters majors. 

Course Offerings:  3 credits of AL 491: Special Topics in Arts and Letters. The class will meet 4-5 times prior to departure and 2-3 times after returning. Class meetings after returning will be determined at a later date. Final projects will be due at the end of Summer Semester II.

Housing:  Shared rooms in a hotel or local university housing

Estimated Program Fee: TBD

Program fee includes housing, some activities, some local transportation, and some meals. Program fee does not include MSU tuition (3 credits required), travel fees to/from Silicon Valley, additional meals, and personal spending money. Tuition costs vary depending on class standing, resident/non-resident status, etc. Visit MSU Student Accounts for information on tuition rates. Students may use Financial Aid for this program.

For more information, contact Faculty Leader Kate Sonka at

In your application essay, please make sure to articulate the following points in addition to what’s already asked:

  • why you are interested in accessibility
  • what level of experience you have with accessibility (it’s okay if you don’t have any)
  • what you hope to get out of the experience

Applicants who have a major within the College of Arts & Letters are eligible to apply for the CAL Study Away Scholarship. Visit for more information or to apply.