Catching Up with the Cohorts at Home

I don’t know about you, but for the first time in a while, it almost feels like I have a little extra time on my hands since I’ve been away from the daily hustle of campus life. Whether it’s catching up on classes, spending time with family, or diving into those personal passion projects (doctors are reporting alliteration is a symptom of productivity), everyone has been finding new ways to use their spare time. Luckily for me, I had the chance to see what three current QUEST students have been up to over the last of couple weeks since we left campus! 

Adam Sarsony | Cohort 29 | Rockville, MD

All is well in the Sarsony house, where early in the mornings, not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse–at least on the weekends. Adam is home in Rockville with his sister, who studies education in North Carolina, and his parents. It’s not unusual to walk into a simulated class, where his sister may or may not be recording a class session analyzing Laura Numeroff’s American classic, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, in English or Spanish. 

Adam Sarsony (Cohort 29)

As for his classes, his machine learning and business courses are tying in well to his projects, particularly his research with Dr. Purtilo of the Quality Guild, investigating how digital tools can be better used to make in-person all meetings more effective. Here, he partakes in week-long design sprints leading up to Friday presentations on his project, related to the live presentation feedback tool some QUEST students may have used in their 190H courses.  This tool allows users–presenters–to receive active feedback on their technical presentations so they can better understand audience understanding and attention. What better way than to ask them, right?

Work without play does not make a fun day, and Adam’s research hasn’t been his only personal interest. He’s actually rebuilt his personal website into a bit of a game using React. Check out Adam’s website here and some resources he shared to get started with your own site: 

  • humans.fyi: A collection of personal websites people have shared for inspiration
  • AWS Amplify : An easy platform to host your first site on, with a start-up guide using React here

Sam Pearlstein | Cohort 31 | Danville, CA

Even though some QUEST students might be ready to call it a night near College Park, the sun’s still shining bright in the Golden State, and Sam Pearlstein is still making the most of every day! Her days start with meetings staying on top of everything QUEST and end with plenty of time with her family now that she’s home. 

Sam Pearlstein (Cohort 31)

Sam was sure to voice how much she misses everyone in the QUEST Program, but luckily, she has still been able to stay involved while away from campus. She and her team are hard at work on their 490H project with their client Intralox, where they’re working with the conveyor belt manufacturer to analyze the use of Smartsheet, a data collection software. 490H is just one color on Sam’s palette of QUEST opportunities, as well–she’s also very involved with QUEST Recruiting and is serving as a mentor! As part of mentors class, she is co-leading a new effort to consolidate all of the current QUEST resources into one, easy-to-use platform: the QUEST Intranet! Be sure to check out the Facebook group to share your thoughts in a recent survey regarding the project’s development as well.

Out of the classroom, Sam’s been enjoying the time with her family and getting back to training for a half marathon, taking advantage of the sunny days to enjoy the fresh air on her runs. When she gets home to refuel, her and mom break open the recipe books and get cooking with Bon Appetit, where she’s discovered the perfect tostada recipe, which she highly recommends you try yourself.

Ayo Awobajo | Cohort 33 | Bowie, MD

They say work doesn’t feel like work when you’re doing what you love and back in Bowie, Maryland, Ayo Awobajo is doing exactly what he loves regardless of the circumstances, noting: “Although these are unprecedented times, there’s strength to be found. Reach out to someone, learn a new skill, do good work as we push through this as a community.”

Ayo Awobajo (Cohort 33)

He truly turns his words to work, digging deep into professional development and creativity at every chance he gets. Before he jumps into a business analyst internship with Tradeweb, a New York-based e-trade support platform, he’ll be spending the rest of his spring semester learning from mentors in externships with both J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley. Through these opportunities, he’s had the chance to see the day-to-day operations behind each company with a valuable emphasis on professionalism, and he’s sure to be Wall-Street ready in no time at all!

When he isn’t learning about the business world, he sets his sights to diving into it–Ayo actually started his own brand, Faith Love Optimism–the FLO, for short–this past November, a project nearly a year in the making. The uplifting lifestyle brand brings faith and joy to contemporary design, and now, he’s letting his creativity flo(w) as he prepares to launch a fresh series of designs in his Season 2 releases! Check out the start to his awesome clothing line on Instagram, and be sure to drop a follow for updates on their newest installments to the collection!


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