There are not many opportunities at The Claremont Colleges to leave thoughts of schoolwork and extracurriculars behind to instead focus on urgent problems facing the world today. However, this is remedied through Sparkathon, a bi-annual design thinking case competition that provides a unique opportunity to do so. At Sparkathon, students from The Claremont Colleges and other local colleges have the chance to use human-centered design, a process that focuses on ideation and user empathy, to work together to propose solutions to some of these global issues. In the past, Sparkathon has tackled hiring biases that stem from using artificial intelligence, and homelessness. In past years, students have credited Sparkathon with “opening their eyes to human-centered thinking and emphasizing that the most important part of any product is the humans using them.” Sparkathon will allow students to learn more about entrepreneurship, network with a panel of judges from the industry, and most importantly, work in interdisciplinary teams to learn to use design thinking to effectively make a difference. At the end of the competition, all participants will submit a PowerPoint presentation and a two-minute video to submit for judging.

Check out the Sparkathon website (link to: to see what issues you can help remedy next! Sparkathon, sponsored by Google and BCG Digital Ventures, and hosted by Pomona Ventures and the Hive, will take place at Edmunds Ballroom on April 6th, 2019. There will be $3,000 worth of prizes, free lunch and dinner, and opportunities to speak with mentors and recruiters from Google and BCG Digital Ventures.

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