Beka Adair is the Associate Director of the Quad Innovation Partnership. She comes to us as a graduate of Colorado College. As Project Manager for every project that runs through our doors, Beka wears a superhero cape on a daily basis as she guides students to create amazing outcomes for our partners.
Another semester at the Quad has ended. Demo Day has come and gone, reports are in, and our student teams are off finishing out their semesters and moving towards their summer plans. This is the third time we’ve run the semester program. As with any new concept, the first time around we were flying by the seat of our pants, figuring it all out as we went along. That first semester we anticipated as much as possible, but when it started we had no real idea how to manage multiple projects with different clients and groups of students. We did the best we could with what we knew and came out with satisfactory results.
After that first time we had something to build on. We took what we had done, reevaluated every part of how we did it, took input from surveys, clients, our university partners, and the community and did it all over again. Each new semester we improve on what wasn’t quite working in the last one. Each round we have more applicants, more faculty interest, and a clearer idea of what we need to do, and our place in this community. Every iteration has been an improvement on the last, pushing us forward to impact more students, take on more projects, and have a greater effect on our community.
This larger process is replicated on a smaller scale throughout our semesters with student teams. There’s so much growth that happens in our 10-week program. Our student teams too are figuring it out as they go along, building on what they learn and reevaluating every part of it to produce the kind of high-level work we ask of them. There are broader implications of this process. At the student level, Quad level, and life level, we are faced with infinite choices and unknowns every day. We have to get comfortable with flying by the seats of our pants. If we aren’t willing to engage, build, and reevaluate, we’re never going to create kind of change that our world needs.
There is a lot of discomfort and hard conversations in this process. One of the greatest parts of the Quad is that we’re willing to have those conversations with ourselves and with our students. We have to confront our own beliefs about how things should be done or we will never grow. Every semester we’re proving to ourselves that we can change our community and our world. Every semester we have students who realize their own strengths. It’s a messy, complicated, stressful, beautiful, impactful process and we never stop growing because of it. A semester has ended, projects are completed, and we have made progress forward.