QUEST Explores Online Mentoring Platform, Brazen

If you read the article “The Alumni Network,” you know that QUEST’s focus on community involvement isn’t just targeted towards students, staff and faculty. QUEST is a program that keeps giving back to its community far longer than the average four-year lifespan of a college student. Through social events, anniversary gala celebrations, and electives taught by alumni, QUEST provides opportunities for everyone to interact and bond over shared values of quality, teamwork, and learning.

But what if you’re not in the area anymore, yet you still want to stay in touch with what’s going on in QUEST and help students back in Maryland make the most of the opportunities QUEST provides? Fortunately for our alumni who are out of state, or even out of the country, there is now a way to conveniently interact with members of the QUEST community in a quick, efficient manner.

Introducing Brazen. Brazen is an online platform that allows recruiters, job seekers, students, and of course, members of a community, to interact with one another over chat. Each online event is booked for a certain period of time, and there are several booths staffed by mentors, or whoever is giving out information. Each attendee has a short description in their profile about themselves so that more time is spent on answering the questions participants have for each other rather than on introducing themselves, since the chats are limited in length. QUEST has used this platform twice so far, the first for connecting alumni, and the second, for prospective QUEST students to speak with members of QUEST recruiting. The video below explains more about how Brazen works.

The first Brazen session was on the topic of whether or not QUEST alumni should go back to school. There were four booths of alumni who already received or were in the process of getting their graduate degrees. Two booths were staffed by Smith Graduates and Clark Graduates who received or were working towards an MBA, and two were staffed by graduates from all schools who had Masters, JDs, or PhDs. Alumni seeking advice were able to chat with those stationing the booth and receive advice.

One participant, Andrew Lee from cohort 23, said he took part in the session because he wanted guidance from those who followed a similar path as him. Andrew let me know that it was great hearing about what other alumni did to get where they are today, since it helped him better understand what steps he can take to pursue his passions. However, he said, “The most important thing [I] learned was to really take your time to learn and understand the subjects you are passionate about.”

The second Brazen session was for prospective QUEST students to talk to members of QUEST recruiting to learn more about the program, get application help, and learn about what a day in the life of a typical QUEST student is like. The mentors for this session were members of QUEST recruiting, including Noah Vernick from Cohort 28 and Silvia Caceres from Cohort 27, who enjoyed answering questions about their personal QUEST experiences and what makes the program really stand out to them. Noah found the Brazen platform user-friendly and easy to use and said he was a fan of the timing feature since “it keeps sessions productive and makes both sides accountable for being efficient.”

QUEST is always looking for new ways to bring the community together by finding topics that people share interests in and can bond over. To ensure that future Brazen sessions are just as exciting and full of participants as the first two, QUEST needs to pick topics that many people would be interested in learning about. QUEST can take this platform to many places, such as using it for alumni at certain companies to speak to students interested in internships or full-time positions, as well as for students to get a chance to speak with members from cohorts before them to learn more about how they handled their team projects.

If you have any ideas, feel free to share them in this google survey: We look forward to hearing your great ideas and implementing them when it’s time for the next discussion!

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