The Quad Innovation Consulting Program is a unique partnership between students enrolled at UCCS, the United States Air Force Academy, Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado College and businesses/organizations in the Colorado Springs community. Participants are divided into small groups with students from different schools and varying majors.
These “think tanks” then work on proposals developed by businesses and organizations in the Colorado Springs area; the projects aim to find innovative ways to solve challenging issues in the community. Many of the projects for this fall semester revolve around helping local organizations stay afloat amid a global pandemic.
UCCS sophomore and computer science major Kelsey Garcia heard about the Quad program through her Innovation 1010 instructor and realized that it would be an amazing way for her to create the change she wants to see in her community.
She is working on the “Health Scan” proposal that evaluates mental health programs currently in place for elementary and middle school aged students. Garcia and her group will look at these existing programs and see how effective they have been in preventing youth suicide. Garcia says that is expecting to learn the soft skills needed to work on team projects and get some practice working in a professional environment.
Developing connections with students and mentors appealed to business management major Angela Calhoun as well. A third-year student at UCCS, she heard about the Quad program through a career networking initiative on campus. The idea of getting to meet and collaborate with other students across the region encouraged her to apply for this opportunity.
Calhoun is working on a project that looks at how the Federal Zone Tax Incentive will impact investors and businesses in their attempts to rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic. “I am looking forward to working with the rest of my team and researching ways in which the tax incentive will affect new opportunities for growth and development.”
She hopes to fine-tune her research and interviewing skills to stay relevant in today’s changing career landscape.
Students and recent graduates in the Quad program spend an estimated ten hours of work per week on their project. Four of these hours are spent collaborating with the rest of the small group and six of these hours are independent study. Throughout the process, there is a team of staff and community members to advise and support the members of the program, according to the Quad’s website at quadcos.org.
The website also mentions that many students are eligible to be financially compensated for participating in the program. Grant money is $1,200 for semester-long participation and $1,000 in the four week-long summer Global Ideas Accelerator program. Air Force Academy cadets are not able to receive this grant money.
The hope of the Quad Innovation Partnership is that diverse thinkers such as Calhoun and Garcia will collaborate with other problem solvers to tackle some of the mos difficult social issues facing the Colorado Springs community.