April 15, 2019


Mayor’s Press Office


Annual Program Will Host 200 of the Nation’s Top Technology and Engineering Students in Chicago


Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza is accepting applications for the seventh annual installment of the city’s premier program connecting rising talent with Chicago’s tech scene. Mayor Emanuel, World Business Chicago, the University of Illinois System and Lollapalooza will welcome 200 STEM, business and design students from the nation’s top schools to Chicago. The students will learn about Chicago’s fast-growing tech scene from August 1–3, 2019, and meet Chicago innovators, technologists and business leaders.

“The future of our city’s economy is driven by our investment in rising talent,” Mayor Emanuel said. “These students are among the best and brightest looking to work at a Chicago-based company or start a company of their own, reaffirming our city’s status as a world-class hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza is seeking students who are considering Chicago for the next phase of their career, whether as an entrepreneur, part of a startup team or by contributing their tech skills to a large corporate enterprise. Candidates should be enthusiastic about technology, innovation and entrepreneurship and have demonstrated a commitment to achievement and excellence in their field.

ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza will prioritize applications received from undergraduate or graduate students from the engineering, computer science, design, information technology, entrepreneurship or business administration disciplines. Students can apply by visiting All applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. on May 26, 2019.

“The University of Illinois System is committed to educating the students of Illinois and keeping them here at home to apply their talents and drive progress for our state,” Tim Killeen, president of the University of Illinois, said. “We are proud to continue our partnership with Mayor Emanuel, World Business Chicago and Lollapalooza to make our graduates aware of the many exciting opportunities available in Chicago and build on a growing statewide alumni network that is already nearly 400,000 strong. Thank you, Mr. Mayor!”

“ThinkChicago introduces the next generation of innovators to Chicago’s vibrant tech scene,” Mark Tebbe, chairman of ChicagoNEXT, said. “To ensure we have a rich pool of talent, this program connects the country’s top students with innovative businesses in Chicago ranging from startups to large corporations.”

ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza received a record-breaking 1,073 applications in 2018. The final class was the most diverse to date. Students from 27 states and 79 schools were selected to participate, including homegrown talent from the University of Illinois System, City Colleges of Chicago and other major universities in the Chicago area, as well as nationally ranked institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Princeton University and Harvard University. The 2018 class also included more students than ever before from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions.

“The diversity of last year’s ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza class represents the program’s continued commitment to creating inclusive access to Chicago’s tech community,” Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of World Business Chicago, said. “Selected students will have an unparalleled opportunity to be immersed into Chicago’s tech ecosystem, while also engaging with our most innovative companies.”

Last year, participants attended a wide variety of programs, including:

  • Visits to more than 20 tech companies, including Relativity, CCC Information Services, tastytrade, McKinsey & Company, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Echo Global Logistics and Capgemini


  • A Civic Tech Panel with Carleton Nolan, Chief Technology Officer & First Deputy Commissioner, City of Chicago; Katie Olson, Director of Operations & Services, City Tech Collaborative; Adam Hecktman, Director of Technology & Civic Innovation for Chicago, Microsoft; Aviva Rosman, Co-Founder and COO, BallotReady; and Thomas K.R. Stovall, Founder, ImBlackInTech


  • A Diversity in Tech and Entrepreneurship Panel with Mark McFarland, Manager of Technical Recruitment, Relativity; Tom Alexander, Founding Partner, Holistic; Shaniqua Davis, Founder and CEO, Noirefy; and Alida Miranda-Wolff, Founder, Ethos


  • Access to all four days of Lollapalooza, including a backstage tour

Past attendees have also had the opportunity to tour tech incubator spaces, such as 1871, MATTER, mHUB and TechNexus, which are focused on cultivating Chicago’s growing community of tech entrepreneurs and start-up companies.

“We look forward to this year’s partnership with ThinkChicago. It’s an incredible experience to host some of the nation’s top collegiate minds at Lollapalooza,” said Charlie Jones, Partner at C3 Presents, the promoter behind Lollapalooza.

ThinkChicago has an alumni base of more than 1,400 talented students and professionals, many of whom now work for startups, leading tech companies, innovation spaces and venture capital firms in Chicago. Its sister program, ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week, will take place in October 2019.

ThinkChicago is organized by the Mayor’s Office, ChicagoNEXT of World Business Chicago, the University of Illinois System and Lollapalooza.


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