On April 11th, 2018, The Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship hosted their annual Innovate Maryland event. The event recognizes innovative and entrepreneurial students from across campus and almost 30 QUEST students were nominated for this year’s awards. We were able to interview four QUEST students who were nominated and attended the event!
How did it feel to be nominated for Innovate Maryland?
Chineme Obiefune (25): It felt cool to be nominated. I was invited because I participated in the QUEST/IBM Design Challenge last semester so it was pretty unexpected but very much appreciated.
Bryan Varghese (26): It was great to be nominated for Innovate Maryland! I didn’t know what Innovate Maryland was before being nominated, but I glad was nominated. It felt nice to be recognized for my accomplishments in the IBM Design Challenge.
Chloe Berman (Q26): I was actually surprised to be nominated to attend Innovate Maryland. I know we get to do some pretty cool work as a part of QUEST, but I guess I never quite realized how the work we were doing could be seen as innovative. However, I was very excited to be able to attend this event.
Brianna Ho (Q29): Being nominated for Innovate Maryland was honestly a surprise. Having been nominated for a project (IBM Design Challenge) that was finished several months ago, it was nice to get back in touch with my other team members after a while and meet up with them again.
How did it feel to be amongst other distinguished students and faculty?
Chineme Obiefune (Q25): There were a lot of really cool startups there so it was inspiring to be around so many people that were pursuing their passions. I could tell that they were all serious about making a difference and changing lives.
Bryan Varghese (Q26): It was a great way to interact with other distinguished students and faculty. I felt honored to be included among these really accomplished and passionate students and faculty.
Chloe Berman (Q26): It felt very special to be surrounded by such distinguished students and faculty. I was impressed to learn about all the innovation happening in the community around me, so much of which I had no idea existed. It is inspiring being in an environment full of such talented, driven individuals, and it inspired and encouraged me to continue looking for ways to be innovative in my future.
Brianna Ho (Q29): The whole environment of the event was also pretty unexpected and honestly much fancier than I’d thought it’d be. Being surrounded by all of these great startups and being able to mingle with not only students but also professors and faculty was a nice experience. The entire ambience of the place just fostered a feeling of wanting to do something.
What was your favorite part about the event?
Chineme Obiefune (Q25): My favorite part was the showcase portion where you got to see the different startup founders and talk to them about their work.
Bryan Varghese (Q26): My favorite part about the event was talking to the different startups. It ranged from multiplayer VR video gaming companies to drone building companies. It was so diverse, and it was interesting to understand how they started and made it to where they are today.
Chloe Berman (Q26): My favorite part of the event was being able to speak to colleagues from various programs I am either currently in or have participated in at my time at Maryland, as well as meeting new people and learning about how they are innovating here at Maryland.
Brianna Ho (Q29): My favorite part of the event was actually watching the awards ceremony. Seeing what was going on around campus and how innovative these students and faculty were being right under my nose was so surprising. The videos they played demonstrating each project were awesome.
How did it feel to have so many other QUEST students there with you?
Chineme Obiefune (Q25): It was nice to know that QUEST students are so involved in the innovation spaces on campus. It definitely made me feel proud to know that the program contributed to the entrepreneurial mindset at Maryland.
Bryan Varghese (Q26): I was really proud of QUEST for having so many students at the Innovate Maryland event. The most surprising thing was that half of the QUEST students weren’t invited because of QUEST, but because of other activities like challenges, running their own courses, EIP, and so on. It just shows how active QUEST students are throughout UMD.
Chloe Berman (Q26): I loved seeing how well QUEST was represented was at the Innovate Maryland event! QUEST has been such an amazing program, and it was rewarding to see so many of my peers amongst those who are driving innovation at UMD.
Brianna Ho (Q29): Seeing them around just brought me joy because it reminded me how great and impactful the QUEST community is.
How has QUEST helped you be innovative and/or entrepreneurial?
Chineme Obiefune (Q25): QUEST has instilled a design thinking mindset in me that pushes me to understand the people around me and gather insights to solve the problems that impact them.
Bryan Varghese (Q26): QUEST has definitely taught me to be more innovative. I have learned about different perspectives, different brainstorming techniques, and different management skills. This not only helped me throughout the QUEST curriculum but within my academic and professional career.
Chloe Berman (Q26): QUEST has especially helped develop my skills and capabilities when it comes to being innovative and entrepreneurial. Through QUEST, I was provided the tools and knowledge to be able to tackle problems with a new mindset and to provide uniquely innovative solutions to even the toughest challenges. My entrepreneurial abilities have also been expanded through real-life product innovation challenges and through QUEST alumni who have come back and spoken about their entrepreneurial endeavors.
Brianna Ho (Q29): QUEST for sure has helped me be more innovative and entrepreneurial. I’m nearing the end of 390H right now, and it’s only added to my toolbox that started in 190H. So many concepts that were covered ranging from empathizing with your market to building a business plan are topics that I always keep in mind when starting a new project.
Congratulation to all the QUEST Nominees!
Sam Lewando (26)
Chloe Berman (26)
Alyssa Hu (26)
Bobby Ellett (25)
Conor Casey (27)
Timothy Chen (28)
Cameron Harner (25)
Varun Mohan (28)
Jeffrey Zhao (28)
Chineme Obiefune (25)
Jordan Steiner (26)
Bryan Varghese (26)
Brianna Ho (29)
Adam Sarsony (29)
Kyle Su (30)
Colin SyBing (30)
Derek Xiao (28)
Ankit Sheth (29)
Mingkai Xu (27)
Lauren Kim (30)
Sameera Polavarapu (27)
Didac Hormiga (28)
Brooke Nesselt (27)
Conrad Hong (27)
Adam Hostetter (29)
Didac Hormiga (28)
Brian Freeman (27)
Chad Simon (30)
Meena Sengottuvelu (28)