What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Launched in Silicon Valley, Lighthouse offers hands-on programs and industry-expert coaches who guide students to be proactive, creative, and decisive in figuring out their own future. We educate students to use entrepreneurial thinking and life design techniques to imagine themselves in various career paths and guide them to discover a life path they will love.

Lighthouse programs are based on the principles of life design popularized by Stanford University d.school professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. We guide students to try out various careers through "career prototyping" challenges, giving them real(ish) experience working in each of a number of professional roles. By experiencing projects from a variety of careers, learning to ask smart questions to professionals in roles they might enjoy, and using their imagination to immerse themselves in different jobs, students approximate a breadth of career experiences first hand and decide which life paths best fit their interests.

In other words, we teach students how to figure out what they want to be--a skill that we hope will last them a lifetime.

Our History

Lighthouse was founded in 2017 in Menlo Park, California. Inspired by the many, many multi-talented and terribly confused high school students out there who feel anxious about the future, we wanted to educate them on how to make big life decisions.

We understand that high school students today feel enormous stress about the future. This isn't really surprising, because no one teaches most students how to plan for the future. Imagine being asked to solve a math problem without being taught how to add or subtract.

Schools teach students frameworks for solving math problems, writing essays, speed reading, and coding. Our goal was different: we wanted to give students a framework for figuring out their own future.

Meet Our Alumni

In 2017, we ran our first Summer Program. We invite you to read about The 2017 Summer Program and take 90 seconds to hear from some of our alumni:


Additionally, we offer workshops at schools and community events from Kansas to California. Here's what Chris Rubin from Menlo-Atherton High School had to say about our "10 Minute Tech Career" workshop:

"Samantha's 45 minute presentation on Prototyping a Career in Technology demonstrated the many opportunities available to our students and truly motivated them to take ownership of their personal career exploration."

We Work with High School Students

High school is the perfect age for career exploration. High school students are ready to think about the future, but still have lots of time to try out different career ideas and use their learnings to decide on a course of study.

But even the most privileged students rarely get guidance on picking a career, so lots of students--especially the multi-talented high achievers--tend to feel anxious and confused. Telling them "you'll figure it out" or "follow your passion" doesn't help.

We believe that the most effective way to decrease students' stress and increase their confidence about the future is to educate them about how they can discover what kinds of jobs they would like, and to challenge them to develop a sense of direction while being open to change. We believe in teaching students to be proactive, decisive, and creative when it comes to navigating the future. We arm them with frameworks and tools to help them find a college major and a career they will love.

That's enough about us already. We look forward to getting to know you and hope to meet you at a Lighthouse program soon!


samantha quist

Samantha Quist is the Founder of Lighthouse. She has been a professional marketing executive, software developer, startup founder, startup advisor, resume editor, and nonprofit program director. After graduating from Stanford University, Samantha joined Google in 2004 as a Product Marketing Manager. After founding a resume editing company, she led marketing at big data startup Gnip prior to its acquisition by Twitter. Samantha was Founder and CEO of Copywriter Central from its founding to acquisition, then became the Executive Director of Technovation, a global startup competition for high school students. She is currently Co-founder and Director of FFL Startup Accelerator. She resides in Menlo Park, California with her husband and two children. Samantha has been working with high school students for years as a technology mentor and guest speaker at technology conferences and in classrooms locally, nationally, and internationally. She occasionally blogs at www.samanthaquist.com.

Today, Samantha Quist teaches all Lighthouse courses.
Get to know her in this 12-minute talk she gave to high school girls at Google: