The Quad Innovation Alliance closed on December 31, 2022. It was an initiative that brought together students from UCCS, Pikes Peak State College, Colorado College and the United States Air Force Academy. Several UCCS students were a part of The Quad.
According to their website, The Quad brought students from diverse backgrounds with various perspectives and experiences together. They worked in small teams to tackle interdisciplinary research topics that The Quad’s client organizations assigned to them.
The teams’ research results were given to their clients and presented to the public on what The Quad called “Demo Day.” These final products were presented in the form of reports, recommendations and models.
Megan Wendling, a research assistant at the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience and a former member of The Quad, said that each team worked with a different partner in the community and based their research on a different set of goals.
Wendling was part of a team working to implement a mental health program in a children’s hospital. She said that her team’s final product was a plan that contained different mental health program suggestions for them.
Tyler Alcon, a development coordinator at UCCS and past member of The Quad, worked with his team to recommend a partnership structure to bring advanced technology to Colorado Springs.
Alcon thinks that his team’s project — recommending a safety structure that would protect the confidentiality of networks and data systems from cyber-attacks — helped him view his job differently.
He said that working with The Quad was one of the highlights of his time as an undergraduate student because it made a huge impact on his professional and academic career.
“It was actually a unique opportunity for me because I was … a student employee for the development office at the time, so I was actually already seeing kind of what was happening on campus when it came to donors donating to the university and having that university growth,” Alcon said.
Wendling had a more specific reason for joining The Quad. “I was … interested in the children’s hospital project because it was mental health-related, and I knew I wanted to get my master’s [in clinical psychology],” she said.
She also liked the idea of working in a group and actually applying her work toward something tangible. “You know in school, we have projects, but nothing really happens usually with those projects. It’s just to get the assignment done. But this was actually … doing something that was practical.”
Alcon thinks that his team’s work with The Quad benefitted UCCS and the city as a whole. “The research that was happening, that’s going to happen at the new cybersecurity center, is going to be really crucial when it comes to implementing advanced technology throughout Colorado Springs,” he said.
Wendling also thinks The Quad benefitted Colorado Springs. “I had never really talked to anyone [from other colleges], especially from the Air Force Academy, and so they could give you a lot of different perspectives and allowed students to get that real-world experience and integrate it into the Colorado Springs community — so it’s almost like giving back in a way.”
More information on The Quad’s closing can be found on their website.
Photo credit www.quadcos.org