About Out for Undergrad
Our mission. At O4U, the work that we do changes lives. Our mission is to help high-achieving LGBTQ undergraduates reach their full potential. This year we will serve at least 700 students.
Our students. To build an outstanding class of students, each year we set out to find, recruit, and hand-pick a highly diverse class of very high-performing LGBTQ students from campuses across the United States. Our students generally have outstanding track records of achievement and represent an outstanding pool of talent.
Our events. We invite admitted O4U students to take part in a weekend-long professional program, which partner firms in each industry help us produce and offer. This year we will host four unique professional conferences -- incredible opportunities for talented young people to meet, learn, and grow:
- O4U Marketing, for students pursuing careers in marketing, digital, and consumer product companies, at PepsiCo in Chicago.
- O4U Tech, for students pursuing careers in software development and technology, at Twitter in San Francisco.
- O4U Business, for students pursuing careers in finance, management consulting, and professional services, at Goldman Sachs in New York City.
- O4U Engineering, for engineering students pursuing careers across a wide variety of industries, at Stanford University.
At all four of our events, students will learn about life and work in key industries; gain inspiration as they begin to navigate challenging, ambitious careers; explore potential futures as LGBTQ professionals; and begin to build a professional network in their industries of choice.
Our history. O4U began in 2003 at Cornell University's Johnson School of Management. That year, two Park Fellows set out to create a new leadership pipeline for high-potential LGBTQ undergraduates. They sought to offer LGBTQ students a weekend of education and inspiration, and build a pathway of access to elite employers. The first O4U event -- the Out for Undergraduate Business Conference -- took place in 2004 and was modeled after Reaching Out MBA’s annual conference for LGBTQ business school students. The conference quickly became an annual tradition.
The organization took its largest leap in 2012 when it expanded geographically and into a new industry, with the launch of the Out for Undergraduate Technology Conference (OUTC). This conference attracted over 100 students, most studying computer science, to Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters. It too became an annual conference.
The next few years saw further change for the organization. In 2013, we rebranded as Out for Undergrad (O4U) to reflect our commitment to LGBTQ undergraduate students, agnostic of their future industry career paths and beyond the confines of a single conference weekend. We also hired a full-time Executive Director. In 2015, O4U launched two new conferences: O4U Marketing at PepsiCo in Chicago and O4U Engineering at Stanford. Both conferences were a success and are now annual traditions.
Our team. O4U is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our Board of Directors and our Executive Director lead a dedicated nationwide team of volunteers, all of them accomplished young LGBT professionals in the industries we serve. Volunteering with O4U is a rich, rewarding experience, jam-packed with opportunities to lead, learn, and change lives.