Cochrane Summer Economic Institute

IMG_0815The Cochrane Summer Economic Institute (CSEI) is a Community Outreach program administered by Collegiate School and funded by the Powell Economic Education Foundation. The intensive four-week program open to all rising high school seniors from the greater Richmond area challenges students to apply learnings in economics and entrepreneurship. Students complete two challenges over the course of the four weeks.

The Design Thinking Challenge asks teams of CSEI participants to Redesign the [topic] experience for [user]. | Partner companies create design challenges based on existing needs within their organizations. CSEI teams work Monday – Thursday for three weeks in July using the design thinking process to research the topic and people they have been challenged to design for – be they clients, partners, suppliers, or employees, etc. of the partner company.

On Fridays, CSEI participants reconvene on Collegiate’s campus to review their four-day work week, the current status of their Design Thinking Challenge and to participate in the The City Indicator Challenge.

The City Indicator Challenge asks teams of CSEI participants What do millennials want in a city? | The City Indicator Challenge leverages resources from the Richmond Indicators Project, an effort to measure progress on economic and social goals related to the Richmond region’s priorities. The CSEI students work in teams to make planning decisions designed to attract millennials to assigned cities – Austin, TX; Hartford, CT; Jacksonville, FL; Louisville, KY; Memphis, TN; Raleigh, NC; and Richmond, VA.


CSEI provides valuable skills necessary for a career in today’s commercial markets by exposing students to topics and projects in business disciplines including marketing, finance, product design, distribution, management, leadership, research and analytical competence. The program also focuses on developing skills essential for students to thrive in today’s world including collaboration, communication across difference, leadership development, independence, and public speaking

CSEI bears the name of Richmond area native J. Harwood Cochrane, who, with a single delivery truck, founded Overnite Transportation Co. in 1935 and built a trucking empire. His contributions to CSEI introduced the next generation of leaders to the fundamentals of economics and entrepreneurship.

2018 Participating Schools

  • Appomattox Regional Governor’s School for the Arts and Technology
  • Charles City High School
  • Church Hill Academy
  • Collegiate School
  • Henrico High School
  • Highland Springs High School
  • Maggie Walker Governor’s School
  • Mills E. Godwin High School
  • St. Catherine’s School
  • The Steward School
  • Trinity Episcopal