Dr. Joe Bailey Returns to QUEST

By: Caitlin Thompson (Q28)

Dr. Bailey served as the Executive Director of QUEST from 2009-2014 and has now returned to the position. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with him to discuss how QUEST has evolved and will continue its legacy in the years to come.

So what has Dr. Bailey been up to over the past three years? In one word, Dr. Bailey has been: “busy.”

In fact, a better question might be what hasn’t he been doing. To begin, he conducted research as an Edison Scholar at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, focusing on machine learning to uncover prior art for patents. He also started mQuest, a QUEST-like MBA program through the Smith School. The program, now called DesignED due to its connection with design thinking, just graduated Cohort 3, with 18 students currently in Cohort 4.

In addition, Dr. Bailey co-taught an innovation and entrepreneurship Action Learning Project course as part of the Executive MBA program with the Dingman Center’s Executive Director, Elana Fine. The two also launched a podcast together called Bootstrapped focused on founders, investors, and entrepreneurs. One episode featured QUEST’s very own Kanchan Singh (Q17), founder of D.C.’s first cat cafe, Crumbs and Whiskers!

However, Dr. Bailey returned to something that hasn’t changed over the past three years, the QUEST students. When asked how he has seen the program evolve, he remarked that the students are still “smart, ambitious, team players, innovative, and creative,” and the community makes him excited to be back. He also discussed how the program has expanded and improved through new student run organizations such as QDeS, the alumni board, and the upcoming 25th Anniversary Gala.

What is Dr. Bailey’s favorite part of being involved in QUEST?

It’s “incredibly fun to be surrounded by really smart people who want to do cool things.” He also enjoys his friendships with QUEST alumni and is looking forward to getting to know the current and future QUEST students.

While it’s clear that the program has evolved, Dr. Bailey hopes to continue to expand the program by lowering the walls surrounding the tight-knit community to better serve people not in QUEST. This could potentially include high school students, upperclassmen, and the community as many people can benefit from some exposure to the QUEST experience. He also sees the QUEST community members further coordinating with each other to get support in their endeavors.

Dr. Bailey’s piece of advice to QUEST students past, present, and future is that “you’re all really smart, ambitious, and hardworking, and you’ll be that for the rest of your life. However, if you can pay more attention to your inner voice over what others say, you will be successful. Trust yourself.”

Thank you Dr. Bailey. We are all looking forward to QUEST’s future!


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