CSEI Student Teams Design Solutions for Businesses


A current, real business challenge is given to CSEI teams by partner companies asking the teams to design or redesign a strategy, communication or other business function for a specific user group.

“I got hands-on, real life experience in a way that I never could have gotten in a school setting.”

Matthew, Mathematics and Science High School at Clover Hill

Partner companies create the design challenge 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.

“The students had a unique opportunity to be at the table, lead the conversation and share their recommendations to enhance the ICA’s community engagement with the teenage market. I was blown away by their data discussion – they nailed it.”

Tess McKenzie, Research Coordinator, VCU Division of Community Engagement

By leveraging design thinking, classroom instruction, consultations with CSEI faculty and community partners, research, and panels by local business and community leaders as well as knowledge gleaned from thought leaders in assigned companies, the students teams deliver actionable insights and solutions in final presentations.

If you are interested in hosting a CSEI Design Challenge, contact Trina Clemans at trina_clemans@collegiate-va.org

Past Design Challenges from CSEI Partner Companies

Design a way to adapt ChildFund‘s Learning Seed product for classrooms to engage students and teach important 21st century skills ultimately helping close the gap between U.S. students and those in developing countries.

Design a method to enhance and expand ChildSavers’ outpatient services for their client base.

Design communication materials and delivery channel strategy for a college or university reaching out to a current junior high school student and their family for EAB.

Redesign the client screening process for Intake Agency Caseworkers for EnergyShare, Dominion Energy‘s year-round energy assistance program.

Design a paid summer internship program for college sophomores, juniors and senior students tailored to meet Impact Maker’s mission.

Redesign the structure of the client – partner relationship for sales partners – companies, organizations or individuals – of the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

Design a strategy to reach 18-20 year olds and share the experience of being a Richmond Kickers‘ fan to enhance engagement with the organization.

Design innovative ways to attract and engage Gen Y and Gen Z to live events at the Richmond Raceway Complex

Design a process that enables the Startup Virginia team to effectively and efficiently research and leverage the experienced volunteer mentors who assist Startup Virginia’s company founders and clients.

Create a process to capture and share information about SunTrust Bank‘s philanthropic efforts supporting the communities it serves through financial assistance and volunteerism.

Assess the greater Richmond area’s teen audience needs and interests for Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) to better understand how the ICA can collaborate with the Richmond community to best serve teen audiences.

Design strategies for the VMFA to further engage and connect LGBTQ+ and different abled communities to create a more accessible museum experience.

Create a messaging strategy for World Pediatric Project to expand brand awareness and engagement – both actively and digitally – among younger audiences.