Students Use Regional Indicators to Solve Real-World Challenges

We were thrilled to partner on the 41st annual Cochrane Summer Economic Institute, which is an intensive four-week program open to all high school juniors administered by Collegiate School and funded by the Powell Economic Education Foundation.

CSEI provided 28 area high school students from 14 schools with the opportunity to learn about the economy and entrepreneurship. “CSEI asks students to formulate viable solutions to real questions being pondered by corporate executives, nonprofit boards, civic leaders and citizens,” said Trina Clemans, Collegiate’s Director of Economic and Entrepreneurship Education and Director of the Cochrane Summer Economics Institute. “Throughout the problem-solving process, student teams interact with the community they are designing for and develop skills in empathy building, problem-solving and collaboration.”

Students completed Design Thinking Challenges by partnering with local companies (like VMFA, Dominion, and ChildSavers) to solve existing needs within the organizations. Read a list of 2018 CSEI Design Challenges here.

New this year, students also participated in the City Indicator Challenge. Through this project, they used data from the Regional Indicators Project and gathered insight from local professionals to help them contemplate the future of cities — including Richmond — and what generation Z and millennials will increasingly look for in the places they want to call home. The students were then given “economic development disrupters” to determine how to best plan for future growth in their assigned city, relative to each city’s regional priorities. Learn more about the City Indicator Challenge here.

For more information on CSEI, including application details for the 2019 program, visit