What do you want to be when you grow up?

Lighthouse is an education company that takes a learn-by-doing approach to help young people figure out what they want to be.

We believe that everyone deserves a career they love, but most people struggle to find their ideal job. We believe in starting early and helping young people to imagine themselves in different careers, enabling them to make more educated decisions about their course of study and feel more confident about their plans for the future.

Lighthouse Summer Programs are based on the principles of life design recently 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, meeting professionals who work in roles they might enjoy, and using their imagination to immerse themselves in different jobs, students approximate a variety of career experiences first hand and decide which life paths best fit their interests.

We aren't your typical school. We don't teach students how to write code, or do science, or ace calculus. We won't improve your standardized test scores. There are no wrong answers and we don't give grades. We don't offer college admissions counseling, either.

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


2017 Summer Students


Why We Work with High School Students

Many high school students already feel stressed about which college major they will choose. This isn't surprising because many of them are asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?" as frequently as once per week. But it is a problem, because most of them aren't receiving much guidance on how to learn what it would be like to study or work in different fields.

High school is the perfect age for career exploration. High school students are ready to think about the future, but still have plenty of time to try out working in different fields, use their learnings to set a course of study, and make sure they continue to feel good about their choices as they continue through school. (That said, we know lots of college students and adults who are still wrestling with their career choices as well, and we believe that career planning skills really do last a lifetime.)

Lighthouse Programs was new in 2017, but our work to inspire and support young people to identify their career ambitions dates back almost a decade. 

For instance, here's what Chris Rubin from Menlo-Atherton High School had to say about our 45-minute interactive career prototyping workshop for high school students:

"Samantha Quist'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 believe that the best way to decrease students' stress and increase their confidence about the future is to educate them to create a plan for their future. We believe in teaching students to be proactive, decisive, and creative when it comes to navigating the future, and we give them tools to help them find a lifepath they will love.

Today, Samantha Quist teaches all Lighthouse courses. See for yourself: watch Samantha's 12-minute talk to a group of high school students visiting Google...

samantha quist

Samantha Quist has been a professional marketing executive, software developer, startup founder, startup advisor, resume editor, and nonprofit program director. After graduating from Stanford, 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 and mother to two small children. Samantha has spoken at Stanford University, Juniper Networks, Google, and Technoport Norway. Samantha has also been working with high school students for years as a technology mentor and guest speaker. She occasionally blogs at www.samanthaquist.com.