Making an introduction

This page includes a few examples of how you might reach out to local contacts. While your immediate goal might be to conduct an interview for an assignment, you should think about trying to develop a relationship throughout your work on this project. A strong relationship can potential lead to further opportunities for feedback, connections to more insightful people, and alliances that will be needed for advancing your proposals in the end.

If you are reaching out to people for the first time, you should not expect a timely response and you may not get a response at all. Start early and reach out to lots of people. Send quick followup messages if you don't hear back within a week. If you still don't hear back, stop emailing them.

These template are here as examples that you may borrow and modify as you see fit. The italicized text inside brackets should be replaced with details specific to you and your project; they might not always pertain to you.

Template email to introduce yourself and your project

Dear [Mrs. or Mr. Last Name],

We are students at UC San Diego who are participating in the Design for San Diego 2020 challenge (see I found your contact information at [organization or online link]. My team is working to better understand [specific problem area] as part of our investigation of mobility issues in San Diego. We have not yet spoken to [an expert in the problem area or a person directly affected by problem area], so your unique perspective could really help us understand this area better. Would you be willing to do a quick call with us for 20 minutes to talk about our project? We would be happy to share the insights we gain from our research. If you know someone else who could be good too, please send us their contact.

Thanks in advance for your time!

[team member names]

Template email to followup from a previous meeting

Hello [Mrs. or Mr. Last Name ... or First name],

It was really great to meet you a few weeks back. [or some other details about how you know each other.]

As we discussed at the time, my team is participating in the Design for San Diego 2020 challenge (see and focusing on the issue of [specific problem area]. We would love to reconnect with you to share our current progress and to get your insights. Let me know when could be a good time to meet in person or to give you call. I look forward to connecting with you soon. Thanks,

[your name and team member names]

Template email to request specific information or data

To whom it may concern,

I am a student at UC San Diego working on a project for the Design for San Diego 2020 challenge (see A large part of our research focuses on civic mobility issues within San Diego, specifically [commuter trends, preferences and perceptions]. Our research team would like to know if we could receive access to raw data associated with the recent Transportation Services survey. Is this data public? It could greatly inform our project and I would be happy to share back anything that we learn.

Thank you very much for your time,

[your name and team member names]