Loggers, Meet Michael!

Curious about the tech world?
Come see how a liberal arts education can help you succeed the in the fast-paced world of education startups...


Michael Harbaugh '10
He/His/Him
Role: Director of University Partnerships
Organization: Handshake
Major: History
Minor: Spanish

Host Date:
2020 TBA
Time: TBA
Host Location: San Francisco, CA



We asked Michael...

How would you describe your role and organization to a college student?
Handshake is an education startup that is focused on democratizing access to opportunity for students. We partner with almost 1,000 universities across the country (Puget Sound is a new partner!) to improve the access to jobs and internships that students have, and help the career office support their student populations. To do this, we have created an ecosystem of employers, students, and university partners who come together to create a network like Linkedin, but focused on students and early talent recruiting.

My role at Handshake is to lead the team that expands our university network. We bring new universities onto the Handshake system to ensure that more students get access to the tools we build.

What can a student expect to experience by job shadowing you?
You can expect to learn how lots of different teams run at Handshake—sales, business operations, engineering, design. You will get to learn about what it takes to work at a fast-growing startup, and get to provide your insight and feedback on a tool that you are going to be able to use at Puget Sound every day. We want to hear from you about how to make Handshake better, so expect some questions!

I'll try to set folks up on lots of 1:1 coffee chats with staff who you want to get to know, so please think about what roles or parts of the company might be the most interesting for you.

Why do you want to host Logger Students?
I love helping students, it's been a big part of my career. I was a high school teacher, and have also worked in the non-profit space supporting students, so I love helping people with their personal and professional journey. As someone who now works in Ed Tech, it's also awesome to learn directly from students what they want, and how we can help them.

Also, Loggers are awesome, why wouldn't I want to host?

What student groups/clubs/activities were you involved in when you were a student?

I was an active member of sigma chi fraternity, the rugby team, tons of intramural sports and lots of amazing trips with the Expy. I was an RA in A/L my sophomore year, and loved living on campus!

Describe one of your favorite memories from your time at Puget Sound:

Definitely the long weekend trips up into the Olympic National Forest with my friends - I made some of my closest connections with loggers when we were up in the mountains. I also loved play intramural soccer on Todd field every year.

How are the skills and competencies gained through a liberal arts education beneficial in the type of work you do?

Everything I do is focused around communicating clearly, collaborating with a team, and finding out how to tell the story of Handshake in a compelling way. All of those communication skills and collaborative process come from the liberal arts.

At its most basic, the study of the liberal arts is, to me, the study of how to learn, think, and articulate a point of view. As someone leading a team at a fast-growing startup, being able to learn and grow constantly and to collaborate quickly are invaluable skills that need constant refinement. Studying the liberal arts gave me a great foundation to do that.

Other aspects of your identity:

Identity-wise, I am white man, definitely coming from a place of privilege. I have spent most of my career working in social justice education and now at a mission-driven startup; I try to be the best ally I can to all marginalized or underrepresented groups. I am proud that Handshake shares that culture, we are definitely a welcoming place to visit.