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Making Connections & Delivering Results



Building Information Literacy
Networking & Mentoring
Data Collection & Story Building
Community Outreach



In Latin, the word 'excelsior' simply means ever upward. The vision for The Excelsior Initiative is to create and expand options for students transitioning from their undergraduate tenure into either a career or graduate school. Our fundamental philosophy is simply that no matter what intersection you are at, whether a freshman just starting out or ten years into your career, there are always choices you can make to move upward and forward. We aim to do this through networking, mentoring, building information literacy, and increasing awareness of how majors are connected to and create certain career trajectories. Ultimately we see ourselves as facilitators who help put you in control of the options available to you in your in life. Too many of us move through our education without a bird's eye view of how our daily choices are inevitbly creating long-term outcomes; we want to help create a perspective that gives people the information, awareness, tools, and mentoring support to maximize their education. This productive, positive, and option-focused outlook is a key way to stay empowered and proactive as you build your career, your life, and ultimately the communities to which you belong. 


Remembering Sho Funai

Joaquin Marquez of The Excelsior Initiative was recently awarded the prestigious Sho Funai Endowed Graduate Prize at the University of California, San Diego. We wanted to use this space to offer sincere thanks to the Funai family, to memorialize Sho, and to make the commitment to always pursue the work we are doing with a sense of gratitude and enthusiasm for the opportunity to do it. A primary pillar of this organization is the belief that we are all far more intimately connected and have a greater impact on each other than we may sometimes realize, and so it is important for us to recognize the impact that Sho and the Funai family have had and will continue to have through our work as we strive to embrace opportunities with purpose and passion. 



Major Correspondents

Our Major Correspondents are volunteers who have been able to successfully and adeptly navigate a career and/or admission into graduate school following their undergraduate coursework, and they are here to mentor and guide you with concrete information, advice, and support.  The choices we make in undergrad have long-lasting effects on our career marketability or our ability to successfully matriculate in graduate school, and so the Major Correspondents generously volunteer their time to help fill in any gaps in knoweldge or awareness that you may have. Sometimes just a few key pivots in your education and career development can make all the difference and expand your opportunities. Please peruse the Correspondents Directory to see a current listing of all of our Major Correspondents.


The 2019-20 Survey

Part of the work we do is building a vast bank of information on educational outcomes. By taking and submitting our annual survey, you are making a profoundly important contribution to our collective understanding of likely career outcomes and how they are connected to undergraduate majors. This information is vital for students who need to be able to make sure they make informed choices and are not graduating saddled with debt and without adequate employment options. There are two versions of the survery, one for students who have not yet graduated, and another for those who have graduated and are embarking on careers or graduate school. This concept is simple, but crucial for managing the vast ocean of information out there concerning educational outcomes. We have elaborated more completely on why we do this work, so see the Why This Work page for a more detailed explanation for why we see a dearth of reliable research on career trajectories and how we plan to make a contribution in this field.

The first link is for students still working through their undergraduate coursework, and the second link is for those who have completed their undergraduate work and have either entered the workforce or been accepted to graduate school.

Here is the link to the 2016 Pre-grad Survery:

Here is the link to the 2016 Post-grad Survey:



We warmly welcome all questions, suggestions, feedback, and any other points of conversation. 

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