Launch Your Career

What Launch Graduates Have to Say

HackCville kept just over 60 students in Charlottesville last summer. Why? Our new summer academy, Launch.

“Launch is a program that offers two big things: the part where you’re learning, and you really dive in to the technical skills, hone in on your ability to do different things; and then it also has the experience part, where you work at a startup in the Charlottesville community and actually use the skills that you’ve learned.”

       – Lindsey Shavers, Software Engineering track

Students spent six weeks doing an intense skills bootcamp in one of four tracks: Digital Marketing, Data Science, Web Design, and Software Engineering.

“My first day, I remember we all came in at nine, and we all were looking around, like ‘who am I spending the summer with,’ but it was cool. Within a couple of hours we were all working together on our problem sets and all getting to know each other. By the end of the first day I was already comfortable with everyone in the room.”

Charlie Tolleson, Data Science track

Launch is not like classes at UVA.

“There’s a soft skill that UVA somewhat teaches, but it’s really practiced here: self-learning and taking initiative. So the instructors will go over concepts and give lectures and presentations. But there’s a lot of times where you have to figure out the best platform and the best strategy to make really good content yourself. Really practicing and honing that ability to self start is something you learn at Launch.”

-Yae Ji Cha, Digital Marketing track

“Computer science at UVA is mostly teaching fundamentals. At Launch it’s not just knowing fundamentals, it’s about how are you actually using them in the real world, how are you actually making websites. Classes like web design and web development at UVA are electives people take in their third and fourth years. It’s really amazing that some of us are just rising second years and we already have those skills.”

-Kavya Ravikanti, Software Engineering track

Complete skills immersion allowed students to go from zero to dangerous in a relatively short period of time. Their test? A six week internship with some of HackCville’s best hiring partners.

“I remember in a meeting she (the woman I worked closely with at a Charlottesville nonprofit) smiled and said that this had been some of the most helpful instruction and design work done for her. And at that moment it was very real, the idea that I’m helping a nonprofit do what they do better.”

-Chris Morton, Digital Marketing track

So stay in Charlottesville this summer. Launch is back, with two new tracks– Digital Media and Digital Strategy— and about 15 additional spots for students. Take it from our guinea pigs:

“Launch’s Web Design summer program threw me into the deep end of web design. It was a challenge that often felt like a combination of treading water and banging my head against a wall. That’s probably what made it so empowering and rewarding, ultimately. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Fiona Seoh, Web Design track

“I think that most people come into this program not knowing anybody, and I think that’s a good thing. I was able to meet people from all different majors, all different years; at UVA you’re kinda stuck within the bubble of your year or your major, so it was really neat to be able to branch out and see a lot of different perspectives.”

-Laura Habermeyer, Digital Marketing track

Skills immersion, new friendships, networking opportunities, and a productive internship– oh, and you get paid to learn.

“Definitely do it. It’s super worth it and a super awesome experience.”

-Charlie Tolleson, Data Science track


The Launch program applications close Sunday October 15th at 11:59pm.

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About The Pioneer + HackCville

The Pioneer is the publication of HackCville. All of our producers are either current students or graduates of HackCville’s media education programs.

Our producers develop skills in modern media production through publishing stories about creative, civic, and entrepreneurial innovators in the University of Virginia and greater Charlottesville community. Learn more →

HackCville develops the skills, networks, and entrepreneurial ability of talented U.Va. students. We accelerate our students’ ideas, projects, and startups through our experiential programs and tight-knit community. More about us →

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