Stanford in New York program adds quarter focused on theme of media and finance

Stanford is gradually expanding Stanford in New York, a three-year pilot program, to encompass an entire academic year, with each quarter focused on some of New York City’s strengths: arts, architecture, design and urban studies; media and finance; the global city.

As thousands of Stanford students settle into the rhythm of a new academic year on the Farm, 21 juniors and seniors are establishing their autumn quarter routines – seminars, internships and field trips – in the Big Apple through the Stanford in New York program.

Lecturer Scott Francisco speaks to students on the High Line.

Architectural theorist and designer Scott Francisco speaks to students on the High Line, an elevated park built on a historic freight rail line on Manhattan’s West Side. (Image credit: Rosina Miller)

Under the program, which the university launched last autumn, students take a full load of required and elective courses, work four days a week in internships related to their academic and career interests, go on field trips and attend cultural events. They live in a student residence hall in Brooklyn Heights and take the subway to Manhattan, where they attend classes in the beautiful Stanford in New York facilities located on the 18th floor at 915 Broadway in the Flatiron district.

During autumn quarter, Stanford in New York focuses on the arts, architecture, design and urban studies. This year, Stanford is adding a winter quarter program focused on media and finance with 20 students from diverse majors already signed up to take part. In 2017-18, Stanford plans to add a spring quarter focused on “the global city.”

“With new faculty, new curriculum and new internships each quarter, it’s like being in perpetual start-up mode for these three pilot years, and that makes the program exciting and always new,” said Rosina Miller, founding director of the program. “The support I have received from Stanford faculty and staff on campus and from alumni in the city makes my job so much easier and more fun.”

In addition to overseeing Stanford in New York, Miller teaches The New York City Seminar, a course that investigates how New York City shapes and is shaped by issues relevant to each quarter’s thematic lens.

Autumn in New York City

Most of the students enrolled in Stanford in New York this quarter are humanities majors, including art history, urban studies, symbolic systems, and African and African American studies. One student is pursuing a new joint major – Art Practice + Computer Science.

Still, the program has also attracted scientists and engineers, including students majoring in mechanical engineering, Earth systems, and mathematical and computational science.

“Through Stanford in New York, students interested and involved in the humanities and arts have opportunities to engage in meaningful internships that inform their post-Stanford employment possibilities and goals,” said Harry J. Elam Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education.

“Stanford in New York also represents a transformative experiential adventure for all students who matriculate, regardless of major. They can take part in professional development as well as in practical, intellectual and cultural activities that are only available in New York.”

Through the internships, the program offers students the opportunity to develop adaptive learning – one of the key aims of a Stanford undergraduate education – by using skills they learned in the classroom to address real-world situations.

Currently, students are serving as interns in nonprofit organizations, government agencies, theaters and businesses located all over the city.

One is working at, which is focused on improving the lives of people in poor and vulnerable communities. Another is working at Ennead Architects, which designed Bing Concert Hall and the Anderson Collection at Stanford University. One is a public policy intern at the Child Welfare Organizing Project.

Several students this fall are interning at theaters, including New Georges, a theater company devoted to women theater artists. One of the urban studies majors is working at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Another is interning at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

In addition, during autumn quarter students will see the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton and the exciting new play Vietgone, as well as attend a performance of Ballet Hispánico. Outdoor jaunts include a visit to the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side, and a guided boat tour of Manhattan architecture.

Winter in New York City

Twenty students representing a diversity of passions – from economic policy and banking to publishing and entertainment media, will participate in the winter quarter program.

Doug McAdam, a professor of sociology, will serve as faculty-in-residence – his second stint in the post – and teach Divided America as Seen Through the Lens of New York City.

Winter quarter electives include Big Finance and New York City and Disrupting the News: How Technology Is Transforming the Media.

Miller said the process of lining up internships for students is well underway.

“Stanford alumni in the finance and media worlds have been instrumental in helping establish partners for our program,” she said. “Students have submitted resumes at participating big banks and boutique firms, as well as media giants and smaller companies. We are continuing to investigate additional partnership possibilities as well.”

Miller said the program is organizing field trips and ideas include Wall Street, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Museum of American Finance, the New York Times, a network studio, Bloomberg, the Bronx Documentary Center and the holiday show at the New York Botanical Garden.