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Hacking For Defense Student Feedback 2020

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Survey of Students in the 2020 Hacking For Defense class

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Hacking For Defense Student Feedback 2020

  1. Hacking for Defense (H4D) MS&E 297 | Stanford University Student Feedback
  2. How has H4D Impacted You? (1) This will 100% be a hallmark of my time at Stanford. Courses like these, in my opinion, is what separates Stanford from other schools. I am unbelievably grateful to have had the chance to take and work my hardest in this course. Undergraduate, Bioengineering I feel that this course has made me want to serve our country in a new way. I am now hyperaware of the disconnect which exists between the private and public sectors when it comes to innovation. Undergraduate, Engineering This course has shown me that innovation should not be a contract between the DoD and a technology or industrial company, innovation should be pragmatically and culturally embedded within the defense space. In the future, I don't want to make the DoD more efficient or effective at out-sourcing, I am going to work to make innovation an in-house competitive advantage, not an out- sourced contract. We need our nation's best and brightest to serve directly. Not just working in the private sector and developing tools or technologies which down the road may be used by USG. Undergraduate, Engineering
  3. How has H4D Impacted You? (2) The Lean Startup methodology has shown me that "luck" is much less of an element in early startup success than many think. As a hopeful future entrepreneur, this is incredibly encouraging. MBA Candidate, Graduate School of Business Having focused much more on public service when I was younger, and then slowly drifted away as my business career began, this was exactly the wake-up call I needed to focus on what is important, more than business for the sake of business. MBA Candidate, Graduate School of Business I learned a great deal about what public service can look like, and this was mostly through the senior guest lecturers. I really appreciate this new learning, and it has both inspired me and helped me to understand the pathways to work in public service in the future.
  4. Perceptions of the DoD (1) My perception of the military significantly improved as I understood why DoD/IC people do what they do at a deeper level than portrayed by media. I came to really respect the mission-driven, collaborative culture of the DoD and the people that comprise it. Undergraduate, Computer Science The people I spoke with were incredibly kind, helpful, and motivated by a spirit of service and giving. Though the organization as a whole can - and occasionally does - make mistakes, there is no doubt in my mind that the people that compose the organization are well-intentioned, honourable, kind people. Masters Student, Computer Science I met a lot of people in the DOD who were super earnest about what they are doing and had great outlooks on the impact of the organization. I felt that people care about the stuff they are doing, which is awesome. Undergraduate, Mechanical Engineering My perception of the DoD/IC as an organization has increased throughout the quarter. Beforehand, I tended to view the DoD as a monolith. I tended to have a stereotyped view of the military and IC and did not have a great understanding of the different groups within the DoD/IC. I realize now how dedicated these institutions are to keeping our country safe and have more respect for all the actions they are taking that go unnoticed and do not make the headlines. Undergraduate, International Relations
  5. Perceptions of the DoD (2) There are a ton of smart people in the military that want to fix things. Undergraduate, Computer Science Speaking to members of the military revealed the deep expertise each of them have in their roles as well as their fundamental commitment to liberty and justice as a motivating factor. Undergraduate, Computer Science I didn't have much interaction with these organizations before. But based on interviews with these individuals, I've come to truly respect their accomplishments, attitudes, and perspectives on everything from innovation to ordinary life. It has been a real pleasure to talk to the members of the DoD and military, and is probably one of the biggest takeaways of this course for me personally. Undergraduate The amount of intelligent, capable, passionate, men and women we spoke with from the DoD, military and IC was extremely motivating and inspiring to see. Undergraduate, Bioengineering I was highly impressed with many of the military individuals I spoke with. They were well-spoken, a lot smarter than I thought, and surprisingly willing to talk to our team and give us some help. Undergrad, Computer Science
  6. What did you like about H4D? (1) • I liked the fast pace pushed by the teaching team and the large amount of feedback. I also liked feeling patriotic that we were working on a problem that could have impact. Masters, Humanities and Sciences • We got pushed really hard and got to interact with some of the finest, most accomplished people at DOD, we learned so much in 10 weeks and became experts in our problem Undergrad, Mechanical Engineering • Speaking to end users about their problems and brainstorming with them what sort of tools would be most helpful. Amazed by the power of the H4D brand and network to help us connect with people. Law School • Interacting with real stakeholders on a real problem, getting extremely helpful feedback from the teaching team, and learning a great deal from the mentors and teaching team. • I enjoyed the connections I was able to make with so many amazing people throughout the defense industry Graduate School of Business • Speaking with individuals at all levels of the DoD; our interviewees were so friendly, open, helpful, positive, and downright intelligent. Masters, Mechanical Engineering • Learning about DoD acquisitions and funding opportunities Masters, Computer Science
  7. What did you like about H4D? (2) Being able to speak to experts and professionals who we really had no business engaging with in the first place. Through 100+ interviews, we not only became experts on our own problem, but I feel more confident in any interview setting moving forward. I know how to better prepare for interviews, engage with interviewees, and humbly compose myself in front of someone who knows so much more than myself. H4D teaches more than just how to approach problem solving - there are countless life skills which come out of this multifaceted course. The most rewarding part of the experience has been conducting interviews throughout the quarter. Before I came to Stanford I used to make documentaries and wanted to be a journalist. In college, I have largely put my interest in filmmaking on hold in order to focus on international security. But the parts of the documentary filmmaking process I found the most fulfilling— delving deeply into a problem, speaking to individuals on the frontlines of an issue, learning to understand others’ perspectives, working closely with a team—were core features of the H4D interviewing experience as well. Additionally, there has been a subtle transition throughout the course from doing interviews in which we were learning about the problem, to interviews in which we were discussing our own ideas and opinions. I have gained a lot of confidence from this process.
  8. Beneficiary Discovery ‘This is where the magic happens. This is where we learn, make mistakes, are proven correct, and form our narrative. Undergraduate, Engineering I will never forget the ability to learn by following the beneficiary discovery and interview process. A must-learn lesson for any prospective entrepreneur. GSB Getting out of the building. I've never done it before, but I would certainly do it again after learning all of the lessons from "face-to-face" conversations with beneficiaries in performing customer discovery. Letting us as a team discover our own beneficiaries and their pain points was the most insightful way of learning info in this course. Undergraduate Beneficiary discovery/interviews define the course. It feels amazing to look back and see the hundreds of people we've talked to. Immensely valuable soft skills gained as well. Undergraduate, International Relations
  9. H4D Teaching and Mentoring World-class teaching team. Exactly the mix of startup and military expertise the class needs. Incredibly helpful in connecting us with others. GSB Never before have I been part of a course in which there are so many people dedicated to helping their students succeed. It has been amazing! Undergraduate, International Relations Our mentor was absolutely brilliant, personable, and got along with our team very well. They were thoughtful, understanding, gave critical feedback when necessary, and incredibly supportive. Graduate Student Our military liaisons were absolute champions. They really got us started with our initial interview 'rolodex,' and they would drop everything to meet with us and answer any questions we had. I absolutely loved them. I hope we stay friends forever. Masters student, School of Humanities and Sciences

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