Got Skills?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my – admittedly short – time in QUEST, it’s that everyone loves to lend a hand. Don’t know what electives to take next semester? Can’t figure out why your latest presentation isn’t clicking? Odds are, if you sit in the QUEST Lab long enough, someone will be able to help you out. As Yash Mehta put it, “Each QUEST student has some sort of expertise,” and it’s this community of scholars and innovators that form the backbone of the new QUEST Development Series (QDeS) workshops.

The project of 190H mentor team Yash Mehta (Q22), Chris Yeager (Q22), and David Dorsey (Q23), the QUEST Development Series stems from the need for skills that don’t fit neatly into course curriculum, but are valuable nonetheless. Comprised of workshops run by students (or alumni), the Development Series hopes to give QUEST students a chance to pick up hard skills in a hands-on, low pressure environment.

“Don’t expect to come out there and listen to someone talk for an hour,” Yash said, and Chris added, “It’s definitely a different format… very much not lecture-based; it’s meant to be engaging.”

While no one is under the illusion that these workshops will make experts out of the attendees, they will give students a chance to get their feet wet, become passionate about exploring something new, and pick up new tips and techniques. The student-to-student format also allows for students to give back to the QUEST community and pass on the skills they’ve learned.

The inaugural workshop took place on February 15th. Taught by Steven Gresh (Q22), it focused on Computer Aided Design (CAD) – a program all engineering majors, some more happily than others, are at least passingly familiar with. While the bulk of the attendees, as a result of the topic, were engineers, a scattering of other majors ventured out. Sarina Haryanto, a supply chain management major from Q26, was “glad I went so I know what it’s like ‘behind the scenes’ of 3D printing.”

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Steven Gresh (Q22) teaches the first QUEST Development Series workshop

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The CAD workshop gave students a chance to test and grow their skills.

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Student-to-student learning isn’t limited to just the leader of the workshop; attendees work together to compete their task.

However, if you can’t be swayed by 3D printing, never fear – the Development Series plans to offer workshops on far more than just technical design skills. The next workshop, to be taught by Praneet Puppala (Q22) and planned for March 24th from 6:30-8:00 PM, will cover personal finance – a skill you can never have too much of. The last workshop of the semester will also focus on a topic you can never be too good at: presentation design. The date isn’t finalized yet, but QUESTees should keep an eye on the TWIQ and Facebook group for dates and registration links.

So what’s the future of the QUEST Development Series?  “Well, we’re going to host these three workshops, and if they’re successful we’re hopefully going to start another QUEST student group [to manage it],” Chris said.

The QUEST Development Series truly is a product of the QUEST community. Driven by the desire to constantly be improving, it provides a more structured opportunity for students to learn from their peer’s expertise outside of the classroom. However, more than anything, it’s just a fun chance to learn – and an opportunity this author, at least, hopes will continue.

Interested in getting involved with the QUEST Development Series? Feel free to reach out to any of the QDes team members. Emails below.

Quest Development Series – QuestDevSeries@gmail.com

Yash Mehta – ymehta@terpmail.umd.edu

Chris Yeager – yeager@terpmail.umd.edu

David Dorsey – david.dorc@gmail.com

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