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2023 SMASH Rising Project Manager (In-Person, Palo Alto)

Palo Alto, CA
  • Expired: January 29, 2023. Applications are no longer accepted.
About Us and Our Philosophy:

SMASH empowers brilliant, underrepresented students with rigorous science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, culturally-relevant coursework, and access to resources and social capital that allow them to pave a successful career in tech and entrepreneurship. SMASH Academy, a year-round STEM-focused academic program that serves underrepresented high school students, has been described by US News and World Report as "Perhaps the most ambitious program to encourage African American and Latino students in STEM fields". Now in its 19th year, SMASH Academy is scaling through an ambitious expansion strategy to achieve national impact.

A research-based organization, SMASH informs and leverages research projects examining inequity in access and opportunity across K-12, higher education, and workplace contexts in order to improve the outcomes for underrepresented students in STEM fields. SMASH is funded by private donors, foundations, and corporate giving.

Program Description:

SMASH Rising provides SMASH Academy alumni with early professional workplace exposure. The program helps develop stronger, more diverse and socially conscious teams by providing college students of color STEM-centric work experience during their college years.

This is a paid internship for SMASH Academy Alumni entering their first and second year of college. The program, supported by dedicated project managers, allows Scholar-Intern teams to put the skills developed at SMASH Academy into action.

The goal of SMASH Rising is to support the development of the next generation of STEM leaders across industries.

In 2018, SMASH Rising piloted the program by placing 13 scholar-interns at 3 workplace partner sites. Since that time, SMASH Rising has experienced rapid growth, even as the program shifted to a virtual format during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the program placed 105 scholar-interns at 16 partner sites, including DoorDash, Zillow, and Raytheon Technologies. Entering another year of hybrid programming, we expect to place 100+ SMASH Alumni in-person and remotely through SMASH Rising2023.

All scholars and staff will be required to comply with the SMASH vaccine mandate for SMASH Rising in-person programming. However, vaccine exemptions will be considered based on medical exemptions, disability accommodation, or religious objection on a case by case basis. If a quarantine mandate is enforced by local government, corporate, or SMASH, all SMASH Rising programming will be held virtually.

SMASH will follow all guidelines and requirements set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as well as local, state, and county guidelines which may include but are not limited to:
  • Mask requirements
  • Regular COVID testing at the site
  • Physical distancing requirements

As we look forward to finally being able to bring the magic of the SMASH experience to students and alumni in-person this summer, we also remain focused on ensuring the health and safety of all program participants - both in light of the current pandemic and beyond. Our leadership is finalizing plans for the summer program working closely with internal task forces and outside medical experts. We are committed to ensuring that our students are able to fully participate in SMASH programming - and the connections, interactions, and experiences that come with it - within a comprehensive and pragmatic approach to reducing exposure and protecting the health of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff. We are currently finalizing our policy in accordance with applicable public health guidelines regarding COVID-19. We expect to offer further clarity in early 2023.

Working at SMASH is about fast growth, personal commitment, and the tenacity to challenge the status quo. This is a pivotal time for SMASH as we build on the success of our education programs and scale our work dramatically. This is not for the faint of heart, but if you have what it takes to change the face of STEM, join us.

The Opportunity:

Reporting to the Workplace Manager (WM), the Project Manager (PM) will virtually lead the team throughout the duration of the program and will liaise between the partner organization, SMASH and the working pod of SMASH Rising Scholar-Interns. The PM will play an integral role in delivering and sustaining the SMASH Rising experience by supporting the design thinking + rapid prototyping process to ensure project goals are met. The PM will be placed and assigned to a SMASH Rising partner with a designated pod/team of 4-5 SMASH Rising scholars and liaise between SMASH, the partner and pod. You can see our SMASH Rising partners here.

Depending on the partner placement, this will be a 5-10 week assignment (June to August), with a full time engagement period through the duration of SMASH Rising (attendance at all program and training dates is mandatory). Although the majority of the position will function as described below, some aspects are subject to change due to evolving programmatic needs.

Project Manager Training Week June 9-15 Full-Time

Scholar-Onboarding Week June 16-23 Full-Time

5-Week Program June 26- July 21 Full-Time

10 Week Program June 26 - Aug 25 Full-Time

Rising Debrief & Wrap Up July/August 4 hours total

*See program and training dates for additional information. Attendance at all dates is mandatory.

We expect facilitators to provide their own equipment. You will need a personal computer that has a working webcam, speaker and microphone for video conferencing capabilities (i.e. Zoom, Google Hangouts, Cisco Webex, etc).

What you will do:
  • Attend Project Manager Training Week
  • Support Facilitation of Scholar Onboarding Week (training for this is included during the Project Manager Training Week)
  • Lead SMASH Rising curriculum implementation at site levelincluding framing a challenge and applying design thinking + rapid prototyping methods to build high-impact solution prototypes while ensuring brief on track to meet all deliverables for partner site
  • Ensure participation of project brief stakeholders to ensure deliverables are on track
  • Track deliverables to ensure project completion is on pace
  • Provide Scholar-Intern and SMASH Team feedback weekly through 1:1 meetings, Team Meetings
  • Collaborate with SMASH Rising Project Manager network across all sites, to add/enhance SMASH Rising curriculum and experience
  • Troubleshoot challenges and identify sustainable solutions that arise at the site level, in partnership with Portfolio Lead and SMASH Team
  • Ensure consistent Scholar-Intern engagement and/or commitment to SMASH Rising; address scholar-intern issues through a Restorative Practices Approach
  • Attend and/or facilitate required meetings (e.g. PM Workspace, Scholar-Intern 1:1s, Team Meetings, Portfolio Lead Meetings, etc.).
  • Complete all programmatic deliverables (e.g. final presentations, attendance, etc. with SMASH, complete and share PM evaluations with SMASH, etc.)
  • Internship will culminate with a final presentation, Project Managers are accountable for supporting final deliverable
  • Utilize data-driven, quality assurance and performance measuring tools/dashboards to support ongoing program efficacy
  • Update Rising Team knowledge management platforms (e.g. updating documentation in drive, etc.)
  • Support the operational logistics of, including but not limited to: Scholar Onboarding, Friday Seminars, Final Presentations, etc.
  • Support facilitation and implementation of Friday Seminars and ensure active participation
  • Support site activities and ensure active engagement
  • Participate in pre- and post-program evaluations to assess impact on students, partners, and SMASH
  • Maintain relationship with partner site, including cultivating a strong relationship with partner site staff
  • Create a collaborative environment, working professionally with SMASH staff and various stakeholders under the direction of Rising Portfolio Lead; timely communication with manager and partner site staff is critical
  • Ensure responsiveness to internal and external stakeholder inquiries and/or needs
  • Other duties as assigned
  • As you approach your work, keep programmatic goals front and center:
    • Ensure Scholar-Interns continue to increase their STEM knowledge, skills, and preparation for STEM studies and career.
    • Ensure Scholar-Interns gain access to role models, develop support networks, and develop positive identities necessary to pursue and succeed in a STEM career.
    • Build relevant working knowledge of STEM career pathways.
    • Further instill a sense of social responsibility, growth mindset, critical thinking, and leadership in all Scholar-Interns.
    • Further instill a sense of positive identity, belonging and confidence to innovate in the STEM fields.
    • Drive student enrollment, persistence, and graduation with degrees in STEM in higher education at rates higher than the national average.


The attributes you possess:
  • Collaboration: Exceptional communication skills; professionalism; excellent time management and organizational skills; timeliness and dependability; ability to have difficult conversations
  • Relationship Building: Respect for individual differences of everyone in the room; humility; patience when addressing situations; ability to listen to multiple perspectives
  • Problem Solving: Remain curious, innovate, iterate, and quickly pivot as needed; keep activities on task and think creatively in the face of unexpected events; consider multiple perspectives in all situations
  • Resilience: Approach situations with a growth mindset, adapt, and reflect to ensure desired outcome(s) are met; sense of urgency
  • Life-long Learner: Willingness to model learning and figure out content alongside scholars open to feedback; learning from what scholars have to offer

What you bring:
  • Demonstrated effectiveness working with young people from economically underserved and underrepresented communities in diverse academic fields
  • Commitment to SMASH's mission; willingness to embrace goals/values is essential; committed to ensuring programmatic outcomes
  • Bachelor's degree in Business, Education or related field required; advanced degree preferred (completed or in progress)
  • A minimum of two years experience in facilitation, design, or education
  • Experience in design-led thinking workshops/efforts and/or relevant work experience
  • Strong ability to set realistic deadlines, and to communicate them consistently to necessary parties
  • Highly flexible for an evolving program in its fifth year
  • Exceptional project management skills with the ability to set clear goals, lead pod/team to the finish line through seamless information flow, effective communication; an ability to read the room, influence and maintain strong team momentum through project completion
  • Content competency and enthusiasm for design + prototype thinking
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, presentation skills
  • Excellent critical thinking skills, self-starter with an entrepreneurial mindset
  • Ability to lead an engaged cross-functional team and work on multiple initiatives at the same time, while motivating pod/team members to their highest potential
  • Demonstrated success at building team relationships and partnerships
  • Proficiency in communicating with data to drive change
  • Willingness to be self-reflective and deeply empathic; a critical thinker with strong problem-solving abilities who can make quick decisions
  • Availability for all training dates and additional events listed above required

Application Information:

Apply for this position below. The application includes a place to upload your resume and cover letter. This position closes on April 1, 2023 or when filled.

If applying to multiple sites, please rank your site preference in your cover letter. List of partners can be found at as well as here.


The hourly rate for this position is $49.18 per hour (a bonus for returning staff may also be available); the total compensation for this position is up to $12,000 depending on site location and program length, which includes training and post-program debrief (a bonus for return staff may also be available). Should the employee miss any hours or days of work, the daily and therefore total compensation will be adjusted accordingly. If your assignment ends earlier than we anticipate for any reason, your compensation may also be reduced accordingly. These policies are subject to variation based on specific circumstances.

Statement of Non-Discrimination:

In keeping with our beliefs and goals, no employee or applicant will face discrimination/harassment based on: race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, age, gender, marital/domestic partner status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, or veteran status. Above and beyond discrimination/harassment based on "protected categories," SMASH also strives to prevent other subtler forms of inappropriate behavior (i.e., stereotyping) from ever gaining a foothold in our office. Whether blatant or hidden, barriers to success have no place at SMASH.

We value a diverse workforce: people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.



Palo Alto, CA
94301 USA



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