Thoughts from a QUEST Mentor

Mentors and TAs at QUEST Camp 2011

Mentors and TAs at QUEST Camp 2011

Interview conducted by Sophia Wu

Angela Wu (Q18), mentor, reflects on her experiences in her new role and what she hopes to convey to the students of Cohort 19.

1. Please introduce yourself and tell us how you became a mentor for Cohort 19.
I’m a Junior in Fire Protection Engineering, and I’m in Cohort 18. I became a mentor this semester because: a) 190H was the most refreshing class I’ve taken at UMD thus far, and b) my mentors were fabulous and inspired me to follow in their footsteps. Shoutout to Aaron Wertman and Michele Fried!

2. As a mentor, what is your role in the 190H experience?
After watching my team work together at QUEST Camp, I sensed that they already had the ability and drive to succeed in 190H. I noticed so much potential in the new cohort that I wasn’t sure what my role was as a mentor. After a couple weeks, I think I’ve figured it out. Being a mentor means that I am there to push my team along as they begin to grasp the ideas of teams, innovation, and design. As Nicole and Melanie have said, for mentors, process is greater than content. While we do not get to give input into which monitor their computers should have for the computer design challenge, we do facilitate the team dynamic and answer any questions so that they are on the right track to making their projects the best they could possibly be.

3. What are some challenges you face being a mentor?
One major challenge I have being a mentor is that I always have to resist the urge to tell my team exactly what works and what doesn’t. I wanted to tell them how to make their computer extraordinary but I wasn’t allowed to. But guess what? They ended up making it extraordinary anyway. This is because every new cohort that takes 190H comes up with these brand new innovative ideas that weren’t ever thought of in previous years. We have such creative students in QUEST, so if mentors just told Cohort 19 what to do, what fun would that be?

4. Tell us, how was it to go to QUEST Camp for the second time?
So much fun. It was even better the second time because I didn’t have to do anything except play! But in all seriousness, it was very entertaining to watch how differently Cohort 19 tackled their pilot products and raft designs in comparison to the how my cohort had. High ropes was popular, as it was last year, but as usual, a few people couldn’t get past their fears to try it out.

5. What’s one thing you wish someone told you when you were in 190H?
Shop for your suit early, if you don’t have one already. You’ll need it for your final presentation, but it takes forever to find one that fits. Forever.

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