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Annual Report

Table of Contents 2

A Note from the Director


A Note from the Deans


What is QUEST?


QUEST Program Leadership


QUEST Students


QUEST Courses and Project Spotlights


QUEST Electives

20 QUEST Student Organizations 22 Sophomore/Junior Spotlights 23 QUEST Senior Stats and Spotlights 30 QUEST Alumni Involvement

and Spotlights

33 QUEST Corporate Partners 34 QUEST Donors/Support QUEST

QUEST Honors Program 7699 Mowatt Lane 1407 Van Munching Hall University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742-1815

A NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR I am delighted to share with you the 2020 Annual Report for the QUEST Honors Program at the University of Maryland. QUEST continues to bring together some of the brightest, hard-working, and team-oriented undergraduates from business, engineering, and science. As individuals, these students are remarkable. When put into cross-disciplinary teams, they do very cool things. When you look at the program as a community of students, alumni, staff, faculty, and corporate partners, I think you will agree that QUEST is unlike any other program at the University of Maryland or beyond. In the pages that follow, we describe some of the amazing developments over the past year. While we don’t have space to detail every student and program success story, I think you will find that the examples we highlight in this Annual Report help tell a story of fearlessness and resilience. When the University of Maryland moved to an online teaching environment in March 2020, QUEST was in the middle of executing on one of our most successful semesters ever. We had 8 projects going in our capstone class, 10 entrepreneurs in Africa partnering on projects, 11 corporate partners engaged with our data science class, and 9 on-campus clients ready to launch their experiential learning projects. Those 38 concurrent experiential learning projects are a record for QUEST, and our students, staff, faculty, and corporate partners were able to successfully complete these engagements even though COVID-19 required us to move to an online environment. I am so proud of every member of our community who helped make this happen. As you read this Annual Report, please consider how you would like to participate in QUEST. We continue to innovate in our curriculum and programs. We are always exploring new ways of learning and collaborating. Sometimes these innovations occur because of external events as they have for us in 2020. More often, these innovations occur because we as a program try to lead by example for our students. This means we are always looking to improve and bring in new perspectives. Thank you for taking the time to read this Annual Report and for helping make QUEST a program unlike any other. Sincerely,

QUESTumd@gmail.com 301-405-0534 go.umd.edu/QUEST facebook.com/QUESTumd twitter.com/QUESTumd instagram.com/QUESTumd blogs.rhsmith.umd.edu/questpress Joseph P. Bailey

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QUEST Honors Program

A NOTE FROM THE DEANS We are proud to have the QUEST Honors Program at the University of Maryland. Each year, QUEST admits some of the best and brightest business, engineering, and science undergraduate students at the University of Maryland. As these students advance in their majors over the next three years, QUEST gives these students an opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in realword problems that span the three disciplines. Over the span of the last 28 years, QUEST has continued to innovate and improve on this mission. As a result, QUEST students are among the most successful and engaged alumni. As deans of the three colleges whose students participate in QUEST, we often use QUEST as a role model for multidisciplinary and experiential learning. In spite of some of the challenges our students, staff, and faculty faced this year because of the pandemic, QUEST students found new and innovative ways to learn and collaborate. As we in higher education consider how the University of Maryland must adapt to new learning environments, QUEST serves as an example of what we can and should be doing to prepare our students for a lifetime of success. Thank you to all of the students, alumni, staff, faculty, corporate partners, parents, and benefactors who have contributed to the success of QUEST. We look forward to your continued participation in the future!

Ritu Agarwal Interim Dean, Robert H. Smith School of Business

Robert Briber Interim Dean, A. James Clark School of Engineering

Amitabh Varshney Dean, College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences

Annual Report 2020

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WHAT IS QUEST? The Quality Enhancement Systems and Teams (QUEST) Honors Program is a challenging, hands-on program for University of Maryland undergraduates from three participating schools. Students complete five courses over three years and work on team-based, experiential learning projects in each course. Students who complete the program gain skills in teamwork, process improvement, systems thinking, product design and development, data analysis, and oral and written communication in addition to a network of passionate and motivated peers, alumni, faculty, and administrators.

MULTIDISCIPLINARY QUEST students are from the Robert H. Smith School of Business, the A. James Clark School of Engineering, and the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. In a highly competitive process, 90 new “QUESTees� are admitted each spring as freshmen.

COLLABORATION & TEAMWORK QUEST students work in multidisciplinary teams on projects and are fully comfortable navigating team dynamics, working with individuals with diverse skill sets and talents, and inspiring an environment for collaborating on ideas and tactical strategies.

COMMUNITY OF LEARNING QUEST is a dynamic community of learning where students, faculty and staff, alumni, corporate partners, and University colleagues contribute to and benefit from the interactions and lessons learned.

HANDS-ON QUEST projects focus on real challenges facing organizations and society today. Students apply total quality tools, design, and systems thinking principles and engage in customerdriven initiatives. Project outcomes develop real and immediately-applicable innovations that improve processes, drive productivity, and reduce costs for clients.

QUEST LEARNING OUTCOMES Apply quality management tools, improve processes, and design systems Communicate ideas effectively in professional environments through oral presentations Communicate ideas effectively in writing

Use business etiquette skills to network and communicate in diverse professional settings and behave in a professional and ethical manner Use quantitative and qualitative data analysis techniques

Manage projects and people using effective project management tools Manage the new product development process for a new product or service that addresses an opportunity or problem

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Work in multidisciplinary teams with an understanding of different roles and how to negotiate conflict in these situations Work in multidisciplinary teams to evaluate, analyze, and recommend solutions to real-world problems provided by corporate sponsors

QUEST Honors Program


Annual Report 2020

Dr. Joseph Bailey Executive Director

Dr. Pamela Armstrong Associate Director

Jessica Roffe Assistant Director

Rachel DiDonna Program Coordinator

David Ashley Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Jim Purtilo Affiliated Faculty

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A. James Clark School of ENGINEERING




Robert. H Smith School of BUSINESS


*Percentages total over 100% because some students are pursuing majors in multiple colleges

Cohort 29

Cohort 30

Cohort 31

Cohort 32

NEWLY ADMITTED STUDENTS This year, QUEST received 245 applications for its incoming cohorts. With the help of QUEST alumni and current students, we reviewed each application, conducted 154 interviews, and admitted 90 new students in March. Our 90 incoming students make up our most diverse class ever, with 22% identifying as Black or Hispanic/ Latinx and 53% identifying as female. We are very excited to welcome Cohorts 35 and 36 into the QUEST community!









Robert H. Smith School of BUSINESS A. James Clark School of ENGINEERING College of COMPUTER, MATHEMATICAL, AND NATURAL SCIENCES LETTERS AND SCIENCES (applying to Smith, Clark, or CMNS)

STUDENT MAJORS* Major Accounting


Aerospace Engineering


Atmospheric and Oceanic Science






Biological Sciences


Biomolecular & Chemical Engineering


Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics




Civil & Environmental Engineering


Computer Engineering


Computer Science


Data Analytics in Biotechnology




Electrical Engineering



Cohort 33

# of Students


Fire Protection Engineering


Information Systems


International Business








Materials Science and Engineering


Mathematics and Statistics


Mechanical Engineering


Microbiology Operations Management & Business Analytics

1 42



Physiology and Neurobiology




Supply Chain Management


*Numbers total to more than 250 because some students are pursuing multiple majors

Cohort 34

QUEST COURSES 190H: INTRODUCTION TO DESIGN AND QUALITY The focus of this first QUEST course, BMGT/ENES 190H, is on creatively solving problems to meet customer needs. Students work in multidisciplinary teams to design solutions for two design challenges by applying methods from design thinking, new product development, project management, quality management, and process improvement. This year, the first team project challenged students to apply design thinking to develop new product ideas around the themes of “On the Go” and “Living.” In addition, their solutions needed to be environmentally-friendly and inspired by nature. Students pushed themselves to tackle big problems such as preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in wildfire fighters and transporting clean water in rural villages. This spring, we faced the challenges of learning online and working remotely. Before leaving campus, each team developed a team pledge to define its goals and norms for working remotely. For the second project, teams used lean six sigma methods and design thinking to help a campus client improve a business process. The teams not only learned about process improvement but also practiced consulting with a remote client. Despite the challenges, the teams were highly engaged with their clients and delivered valuable recommendations. Our clients included the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Bike Shop, and TerpZone. While this first QUEST course introduces students to design and quality through problem solving and teamwork, students come away with much more. Many students say that the course expands their thinking and helps them appreciate new perspectives and see the world in new ways.

“190H gave me the hands-on experience with systems thinking, process improvement, and quality that wouldn’t be found in your typical college lecture. Moreover, I enjoyed collaborating with peers who foster a problem-solving mindset when tackling real-world problems.”

Ayo Awobajo Information Systems and Marketing ‘22 Cohort 33

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“By working with a diverse multidisciplinary team in 190H, I was able to learn more about the world while jump-starting my education in quality, product development, and design thinking. This first QUEST class instilled in me the confidence that I will be successful in my future career due to all that QUEST has and will teach me.”

Julie Hirsch Mechanical Engineering ‘22 Cohort 34

QUEST Honors Program

190H Project Spotlights

Alumni Association: Driving Alumni Engagement through Volunteerism Team QUESTy Krab from Cohort 33 worked with the University of Maryland Alumni Association in fall 2019 to streamline the process of connecting alumni volunteers to various engagement opportunities. The team proposed a new method for gathering opportunities from departments around campus, the development of a new form for alumni to complete if they would like to volunteer, and the implementation of a formal volunteer thank you process. Erica Garnett, Manager of Alumni Volunteer Programs, said, “Working with the team helped us focus on which issue to resolve. It also helped us better understand some of the limitations of our current system. It was great having an outside perspective on our current practices.” Team member Ally Merwitz, finance ‘22 (Cohort 33), reflected on the experience, “Our project was unique in that while we were catering to the needs of our client, there are also thirteen other colleges and many other organizations that house their own alumni associations. It was our job to get the volunteer matching processes to mutually benefit all of these stakeholders. The unanticipated challenges ultimately made the experience even more rewarding in the end.”

Ally Merwitz (left) and Mansi Reddy (right) present at the 190H Poster Session

Accessibility and Disability Services: Improving the Testing Center’s Exam Collection Process Team 1Q34 Consulting from Cohort 34 worked with the Accessibility and Disability Services (ADS) Office within the Counseling Center to improve the process of professors submitting exams to ADS for students who request accommodations. Samantha Engler, mathematics ‘22 (Cohort 34), said, “Our team chose to work on this project because we wanted to make an impact in an area that has real consequences for other students who rely on these services to get the full UMD experience that they deserve.” Engler and her team proposed several recommendations such as updating the instructor guide and moving all exam submissions online. According to Natasha Williams, Testing Coordinator at ADS, “It was really great working with the QUEST team. I appreciated their hard work and willingness to understand accommodated testing, our services, processes, and pain points. The team asked excellent questions, connected with another staff member on our team for additional guidance, and connected with faculty members to provide our office with the best recommendations. Their presentation and paper were really impressive, and we are beyond grateful for their efforts.”

Annual Report 2020

Samantha Engler (center) and her 190H teammates at Orientation

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438A/489A: APPLIED QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS QUEST is preparing students for a data-driven world through experiential learning in our Applied Quantitative Analysis course, BMGT 438A/ENES 489A. This course has been part of the portfolio of electives for QUEST for several years, but the spring 2020 semester was the first time that this course was required as the second course for all QUEST students. Cohort 33 rose to the occasion and successfully delivered on their experiential learning projects. Moreover, the students were able to complete these projects in spite of the shift to online learning due to COVID-19. QUEST’s approach to this course is unique because it is specifically designed as experiential learning for students in multidisciplinary teams. Since students are exposed to probability and statistics within their majors, this course builds on this foundation. Accordingly, the course focuses on the extract-transform-load framework of data science that practitioners often find challenging when building models

“438A taught me phenomenal data skills useful across business and technical disciplines. The techniques I learned with Python, statistics, and data visualization made me feel confident in my analytical skills and impressed employers during interviews.” Amod Mathur Computer Science and Operations Management and Business Analytics ‘22 Cohort 33

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in the real world. Students learn that real-word data is messy, incomplete, and often resides in different parts of the organization with no easy way to connect data sources. The course leverages the design thinking process of keeping the end in mind when designing data workflows. Furthermore, the students learn the importance of using hypothesisdriven discovery to develop data models. The application of these concepts to the real world is an important part of this course. As the two projects here highlight, our corporate partners have significant data challenges and understand that there are additional insights that can be gleaned from additional analysis. Students work in teams on shared Python code to ingest and clean up data, perform exploratory analysis, build models, and ultimately, test these models. In doing so, student teams often find ways to help corporate partners reimagine their use of data workflows moving forward.

“The data science course broadened my knowledge of how to leverage and interpret data to solve real-world problems for clients. I was able to analyze data trends and understand coding techniques, which further increases my awareness of other disciplines.”

Madison Spiotta International Business and Management ‘22 Cohort 33

QUEST Honors Program

438A/489A Project Spotlights

Burlap & Barrel: Understanding Repeat Customers Team Spice it Nice Consulting worked with Burlap & Barrel this fall to analyze trends in purchasing data in order to understand how to turn first-time buyers into repeat customers. Burlap & Barrel is a spice company that focuses on sustainability and supporting smallholder farmers. The company was co-founded by Ori Zohar, marketing ‘07 (Cohort 12). “The cross-disciplinary team was able to shed light on areas of our business that we didn’t have the capacity or the skill sets to do. They approached the project

with fresh eyes and asked questions that hadn’t crossed our minds,” shared Zohar. Team member Alyssa McKinney, electrical engineering ‘21 (Cohort 31), explained, “We used a combination of Excel, Python, and Tableau to perform quantitative and qualitative analysis that informed our project’s direction. We were able to uncover a lot about the company’s customer base and make appropriate recommendations.”

PepsiCo: Improving Long-Term Forecasting One QUEST team spent the spring semester helping the PepsiCo Beverages North America Demand Planning Team analyze and improve their long-term forecasting. The team assessed three types of forecasts and determined which forecasting platform provided the most accurate data at different time periods in order to ultimately develop a unified forecasting system with the least amount of error. Team member Alvina Pan, cell biology and molecular genetics ‘21 (Cohort 32), said, “As a biology student who had never had any real exposure to coding, I am really thankful for this class and this project, especially during the current pandemic.

Annual Report 2020

Learning about how forecasting is being impacted in such an unprecedented time was truly an experience that I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.” The team worked with Elizabeth Gillum, marketing & supply chain management ‘19 (Cohort 28), a Demand Planner at PepsiCo, who said that the partnership was also a great professional growth experience for her. “It provided me with a learning opportunity on how to guide a group towards achieving a final goal, along with how to support them during the process,” she shared. “I was really impressed with their questions throughout the project and impactful results and insights.”

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390H: DESIGNING INNOVATIVE SYSTEMS AND 398Q: CROSS-CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES ON QUALITY These two QUEST courses provide another example of how students can work in multidisciplinary teams for experiential learning but with an emphasis on understanding the technology disruptions and cultural paradigm shifts. We are very fortunate within QUEST to have a strategic partnership with the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), which funds startups within Africa. Over this past year, USADF and QUEST identified ten startups for a twosemester collaboration. Each startup was paired with a QUEST team in BMGT/ENES 390H for the fall 2019 semester and a team from ARHU 398Q, a QUEST elective, for the spring 2020 semester. The goal of this collaboration was to help the startups grow by improving the design of their systems. Since the startups are disrupting the markets within Africa, an important part of the project is for the QUEST teams to understand the context and constraints of the local economy. For many students who have spent most of their lives in the United States, they find that the things they take for granted - such as a reliable source of electricity or clean water - cannot be assumed when helping a startup in Africa. Students work with the entrepreneurs to help identify ways to improve their position in the market and scale beyond their current success. An important part of learning for these two classes is to find ways to use feedback loops for continuous improvement. The best outcomes result from removing bottlenecks and amplifying the startups’ successes. In this way, the startups can grow, and USADF can make the biggest impact for change.

“390H is an exciting and rewarding class that provides students with the opportunity to learn about complex adaptive systems and apply these teachings to solve real-world problems.”

Chris Mavrikes Finance ‘21 Cohort 32

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“398Q was a really great segue, bridging the tools and communication skills we learned in the early QUEST classes with amazing opportunities to work with companies that exude such passion for what they do. It was truly the most unique class I’ve ever taken at UMD, and I’m really proud of the work I was able to do for these companies and hope to follow their progress as they grow.”

Sapna Bagalkotkar Computer Science ‘22 Cohort 33

QUEST Honors Program

390H/398Q Project Spotlights

Eco Blocks and Tiles: Implementing Aggressive Sales Growth Strategies and Expanding Markets through Credibility In the fall and spring of this year, teams of QUEST students had a chance to work with Hope Mwanake, co-founder and COO of Eco Blocks and Tiles, a small, Kenyan-based company which specializes in manufacturing eco-friendly roofing tiles. The company aims to be the go-to roofing option for the rapidlygrowing middle class in the country’s bustling construction industry. In fall 2019, Team QUESTadillas was tasked with building a two-year strategy to double the company’s sales by expanding sales to large residential and office developers rather than solely homeowners. According to team member Faaiq Zarger, finance and operations management and business analytics ‘21 (Cohort 32), “Working with Eco Blocks and Tiles was an incredible experience because it gave us an international perspective on consumer preferences. When we first began devising a new sales strategy, we focused on the features of the roofing tiles that appeal to American consumers, like their eco-friendliness and durability. Because roofing tiles are a commodity, we thought that consumers around the world would be looking for similar attributes. After multiple calls with Hope, we realized that Kenyan consumers have roofing tile needs that differ from American consumers. For example, Kenyan consumers want roofing tiles that allow for rainwater to be harvested.” Expanding on the fall 2019 project, Team QUESTterps worked with Mwanake in spring 2020 to solidify Eco Blocks and Tiles as a reputable tiling company in Kenya by offering her standards and certifications to achieve in order to build customer retention and credibility. Varun Singhai, computer science ‘22 (Cohort 33), reflected on the respect and admiration his team gained for project champion Hope Mwanake. “The amount of hard work, time, and effort she puts into providing her home country with an environmentally-friendly, yet stylish roofing option is nothing short of inspiring,” he shared. Zarger added, “Working with Hope taught us a lot about resilience and passion. In addition to being a company founder, she is also a PhD student and a mother. Nevertheless, she always set aside time to chat with us and answer any questions we had. Her passion for promoting sustainability in Kenya was so radiant that it inspired us to work even harder towards an optimal sales strategy.”

Faaiq Zarger (second from right) presents at the first 390H Poster Session

Alexi Tzamaras (left) and Rohan Mishra (right) with their 390H poster

Mwanake enjoyed collaborating with the students as well and even said she’d consider offering internships in the future. “I had a good experience working with the teams. Considering the time difference, it worked out great. They were respectful and always willing to go the extra mile. My biggest takeaway from the program is that no matter what type of issue that your business is facing, with research and perspective, there is always a solution,” she shared.

Annual Report 2020

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490H: QUEST CAPSTONE PROFESSIONAL PRACTICUM In the QUEST Capstone Professional Practicum, BMGT/ ENES 490H, students work on multidisciplinary teams to help clients address real-world organizational challenges by utilizing concepts and techniques of process improvement, system design, quality management, and product innovation. Each project is sponsored by a corporate partner, and each team works directly with that client to understand the opportunity, research the industry and relevant technologies, develop and evaluate possible solutions, and make final recommendations. Over the past academic year, QUEST students completed 16 projects for 11 companies. These projects, based everywhere from Baltimore, Maryland to Moorestown, New Jersey to Simpsonville, South Carolina, provided students with the opportunity to tackle real-world problems and provided companies with tangible benefits in the forms

“There is no course offered at UMD quite like 490H. Working with Sealed Air Corporation afforded me and my team the opportunity to pull from our own experiences to develop solutions that were holistic and well suited to the problem scope presented. I felt challenged and empowered throughout 490H and gained a great sense of pride and confidence in my abilities.”

Hadas Elazar-Mittelman Materials Science and Engineering ‘20 Cohort 30

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of manufacturing efficiency, time savings, and reduced operational costs. At the end of the fall semester, Cohort 30 students had a chance to present their recommendations and celebrate their accomplishments at the QUEST Conference in front of almost 300 members of the QUEST community. In the spring semester, Cohort 31 students embraced all of the challenges of 490H despite the global pandemic, shifting to virtual site visits and meetings, embracing ambiguity, and committing to their projects. The spring QUEST Conference was unfortunately cancelled, but we were able to celebrate Cohort 31’s accomplishments through a virtual poster session and website created by QUEST alumnus Danny Laurence, computer science ‘14 (Cohort 19): quest.umd.edu/capstone.

“490H was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my college career. My project gave me invaluable experience in applying systems thinking and design concepts, alongside learning how to be the best teammate I can be with such diverse viewpoints around me.”

Rishik Narayana Computer Science and Mathematics ‘21 Cohort 31

QUEST Honors Program

490H Project Spotlights

Sealed Air Corporation Alumni often make the best project champions, and this was certainly the case during our fall 2019 collaboration with Sealed Air Corporation. Joseph Dadzie, chemical engineering ‘17 (Cohort 23), a Process Engineer II at Sealed Air, supported Team Signed Sealed Delivered as they evaluated the resin transportation and storage processes at Sealed Air, which develops food and product packaging solutions like Bubble Wrap®. The team was able to get a first-hand look at the company during their site visit to the plant in Simpsonville, South Carolina. According to Shivani Krishnamurthy, information systems ‘20 (Cohort 30), “My favorite part of this project was getting the opportunity to visit our client and learn more about their day-to-day processes. We were able to glean first-hand experience and data from this trip, which ultimately allowed us to tailor our recommendations in a significant way for our client.” Dadzie noted the value of the visit as well. “I enjoyed the eagerness that the team had in learning about our processes, materials, and equipment. Our floor operators felt the energy from their questions during both the plant visit and remote discussions, and the resin purchasing group was especially appreciative of the work and impressed by the team’s final analysis.” Dadzie was quite familiar with the capstone course, having completed it as a student in spring 2016 and then served as a Teaching Assistant the following year. “When I was a student, I had the opportunity to take part in and witness different capstone projects. As a champion, it was a shift from working within a project to designing one with clear objectives that had the potential to make an impact for the company, yet also provide a valuable learning experience to the QUEST team.” Krishnamurthy appreciated having a QUEST alumnus as project champion. “It was great to have a mentor who had a strong understanding of the QUEST pillars and 490H experience. Joe had insightful advice for us as a QUEST alumnus, which made our experience quite meaningful.” Team Signed Sealed Delivered ultimately delivered recommendations to install a new silo at Sealed Air to reduce boxing charges and save more than $200,000 annually and earned the Most Outstanding Capstone award at the fall QUEST Conference.


Completed 238 total projects

161 projects with companies with a major office or plant in Maryland

38 of those companies are Maryland-based


32 ATK/Orbital ATK/

Northrop Grumman

14 General Electric/Middle

River Aerostructure Systems

13 Lockheed Martin

12 Leidos/SAIC

11 Becton Dickinson Team Signed Sealed Delivered with Project Champion Joseph Dadzie during their site visit

Annual Report 2020

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490H Project Spotlights

ST Engineering - Middle River Aerostructure Systems Three QUEST teams had the opportunity to partner with ST Engineering - Middle River Aerostructure Systems (MRAS) on their capstone projects over the past year. MRAS has been designing, building, and servicing aircraft in Baltimore for over 70 years, and these projects offered the students an opportunity to make a real impact at a nearby 1.7 million square foot facility. Project champion Andrew Hong, Lean Manufacturing Leader at MRAS, has been working with QUEST teams every semester since spring 2018 and continues to find value. “It’s so powerful to have the students come in as an outside party and ask, ‘Why are you doing it this way?’ It really makes us stop and think if our process is really what’s right for the customer. We need that perspective to make sure we stay on the right task and not just any task,” he explained. In fall 2019, QUEST team “University of Maryland Really Awesome Students (UMRAS)” created a plan to mitigate production inefficiencies caused by supplier delays. The team “created an inventory model that allowed MRAS to use previous year’s data to optimize on-site inventory and keep production going at the facilities, while still dealing with the unreliable and delinquent parts coming from their suppliers,” explained team member Nicolo Primerano, aerospace engineering ‘20 (Cohort 30). “I had never been exposed to the parts of a company that this project revealed to me,” he continued. “I learned about the immense pressure that comes when a robust supply chain becomes fragile. However, I, along with the rest of my team, found that there are always solutions to mend the issue and bring it back to normal operating speed.”

In spring 2020, MRAS partnered with two QUEST teams. One team looked at managing inventory at a thirdparty offsite warehouse, and another analyzed the part approval process. Team Cleared for Landing won the “Most Outstanding Capstone Project” award by creating a custom scrum board to mitigate communication, data validation, prioritization, and process transparency issues in the part approval process. Kellie Zhang, finance and information systems ‘21 (Cohort 31), reflected on her team’s ability to adapt when the project shifted online during the second half of the semester due to COVID-19. “Having set meeting times was a huge help because it helped our team stick to a schedule. There was a support system within the team, and we all helped each other through it. Winning Most Outstanding Capstone felt like a culmination of all of the hard work we put into the project.” So what keeps MRAS coming back? According to Hong, “We like to focus on improving people. It’s really fun to watch the students dig into details and grow throughout the projects. It’s also fun to see our managers grow here at MRAS. When they coach or teach the students, it grows them as leaders on our site as well. They learn a lot about themselves.” Mackia Kanu, Manufacturing Improvement Specialist at MRAS, has also supported many of the QUEST teams. “I graduated college not too long ago,” she shared. “So to be in a situation that helps students transition into the workforce is really rewarding. When I was in their shoes, I had good and bad experiences so I try to give them the best experience so that they know what working for a good company is like.”

Team University of Maryland Really Awesome Students (UMRAS) at the QUEST Conference

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QUEST Honors Program

QUEST ELECTIVES In addition to the required courses, QUEST students can choose from several elective courses with topics ranging from scoping experiential learning projects to mentoring multidisciplinary teams to design and innovation in Spain. These courses complement the curriculum and allow students to meet and work on teams with students from other cohorts.



In Mentors, BMGT/ENES 397, QUEST students practice essential skills for mentoring and coaching multidisciplinary teams, including effective communications, facilitation, conflict resolution, and the ability to motivate. Mentors are older QUEST students who work with student teams in the introductory course, BMGT/ENES 190H, and in the process, strengthen their knowledge of design and quality techniques. This spring, amidst the shift to online learning, the mentors continued working with their 190H teams through Zoom breakout rooms during 190H lab.

In Scoping, BMGT/ENES 491, QUEST students cultivate relationships with new and current corporate partners and prepare project scopes for QUEST courses. Students practice networking and professional etiquette skills and learn how to write and present clear and technically-precise project scopes. This fall, students were able to visit various companies to build relationships and explore potential projects. In the spring, site visits went virtual, and students met with several corporate partners through Zoom to learn about their challenges and provide input on project ideas.

Mentors at Cohort 34 Orientation in January 2020

“I loved the Mentors class and the team of lively mentors I was with! My two biggest takeaways from this class were how to be an effective leader and how to create a high-functioning, collaborative team atmosphere.”

Anthony Jones Mechanical Engineering ‘21 Cohort 31

Annual Report 2020

Scoping students visit the Fjord office in Washington, D.C.

“Creativity’ and ‘empathy’ weren’t words I associated with corporate networking before—in scoping, I got to learn that they’re both front and center, as we practiced creative communication and navigated the nuances of empathizing with clients and students alike. Getting to practice skills outside of my major with students outside of my cohort was a stellar learning experience.”

Lydia Hu Computer Science ‘21 Cohort 32

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QUEST TO SPAIN For ten amazing days in January, QUEST students immersed themselves in Spanish culture and learned about its influence on design and innovation in Spain. In Barcelona, they experienced the works of the famous architect Antoni Gaudí and discovered how he drew inspiration from nature. The students also explored how landmarks such as Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau were designed with deep intention. A new addition to this year’s trip was a visit to the mountaintop monastery of Monserrat. The site was shrouded in clouds and mist during the visit, which made for a truly spiritual and inspirational experience. In Toledo, the ancient capital of Spain, students witnessed how Christian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures influenced Spanish design. The last stop of the trip was Madrid, where students engaged with locals to learn about the city’s historic El Rastro market, rode bicycles through Madrid Rio with an architect to see how the city transformed its riverfront, and learned how to make paella. An unplanned stop at the Royal Palace was another highlight. While the group visited many places, the journey was not about places but thoughtful experiences. The lessons about design and innovation were not just heard but discovered and felt. Everyone came away with fresh perspectives and insights, not only about design, but also about life.

“QUEST to Spain was a unique experience that taught me to slow down, enhance my design skills, and learn about how Spanish culture approaches design while exploring Barcelona and Madrid outside of the traditional classroom setting.”

Ben Miller Mechanical Engineering ‘20 Cohort 29

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“The trip to Spain was a very enjoyable and impactful experience. It led me to develop a contextual mindfulness of how culture can affect the businesses and general systems of an area. The trip made me understand that you must understand the past to create the future and that it is important to take time to see the mundane in order to think the uncommon.”

Tori Miske Civil and Environmental Engineering ‘22 Cohort 33

QUEST Honors Program


QUEST TO SILICON VALLEY The QUEST to Silicon Valley course (BMGT 438G/ENES 489Q) looked a bit different this year. Just as 15 students were getting ready to depart for San Francisco and Silicon Valley, the university suspended all travel due to COVID-19. However, QUEST remained committed to providing these students with the opportunity to learn about design and innovation in the Bay Area. Thanks to the generous help of QUEST alumni, the students gained knowledge about product design and development, emerging technologies, and company cultures through virtual discussions. Students completed the course by working in teams to “pitch” a new product or service to one of the firms they had met with.

Special thanks to the following Bay Area alumni for participating in this year’s course from afar: ■

Mickey Alemayehu, Cohort 20

Chul Kwon, Cohort 18

Linda Rassenti, Cohort 17

Ryan Atkinson, Cohort 17

Amy Liang, Cohort 24

Melanie Turlington, Cohort 16

Benjamin Graney Green, Cohort 26

Varun Mohan, Cohort 28

Malcolm Wells, Cohort 13

Bryan Huang, Cohort 18

Bernard Ng, Cohort 10

Erica Yingling, Cohort 20

Andrew Katz, Cohort 24

Ishaan Parikh, Cohort 28

Jeffrey Zhao, Cohort 28

Jeremy Krach, Cohort 25

Benita Poon, Cohort 19

“QUEST to Silicon Valley is a class that not only explores the Silicon Valley mindset through our interactions with QUEST alumni in the area, but also helps us build meaningful relationships with like-minded individuals pursuing a career within tech, either through casual coffee-chats or indepth presentations during these trying times.”

Shivanee Arun Computer Science ‘21 Cohort 32

Annual Report 2020

“Despite the circumstances due to COVID-19, QUEST to Silicon Valley gave me an opportunity to create connections with companies in the Bay Area and exposed me to career opportunities I didn’t know were possible.”

Michael Jones Mechanical Engineering ‘22 Cohort 33

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QUEST CORPORATE The QUEST Corporate student committee plans events to connect students with corporate partners and alumni and help prepare them for opportunities in the professional world. This year, QUEST Corporate hosted its fifth annual networking event in the Stamp Student Union, with 22 companies and 130 students in attendance. The committee also hosted several site visits throughout the year including visits to Bechtel and Capital One and a full-day of visits in D.C., which included Fjord, IBM, and Rasa. “QUEST Corporate provides a unique opportunity for students to grow professionally and create a network that can ultimately lead to their dream job,” said QUEST Corporate co-lead Olivia Wolcott, bioengineering ‘20 (Cohort 30).

QUEST students at the Bechtel site visit


QUEST students at QUEST Creative’s fall pumpkin carving event

QUEST Creative provides all QUEST students with a creative outlet. This year, the QUEST Creative student leaders organized events such as pumpkin carving in October and laser cutting at the UMD Sandbox, a student-run creative space for artists, designers, and hackers. One of the newest QUEST Creative members, Sarah D’Souza, management ‘22 (Cohort 33) said, “Joining QUEST Creative has given me the opportunity to learn new skills and take part in cool activities like laser cutting, while forming friendships with motivated people who are passionate about learning.”

QUESTPRESS Students on the QUESTPress committee are dedicated to sharing the stories of the QUEST community. The students release a monthly newsletter to QUEST students, alumni, parents, corporate partners, university affiliates, and friends. According to co-editor Celine Moarkech, data analytics in biotechnology ‘20 (Cohort 29), “QUESTPress allows me to engage with the QUEST community in a more personal capacity. While I can find out what someone is doing through their social media or LinkedIn, by interviewing students and alumni, I get to learn the how and the why, which is always fascinating and inspiring.” Read the latest edition of QUESTPress at blogs.rhsmith.umd.edu/questpress/.

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QUEST Honors Program

QUEST RECRUITING QUEST Recruiting continues to serve as one of the best avenues to promote the QUEST program because of the dedication of each member. In addition to attending the First Look Fair and the University’s Fall Open House, our QUEST recruiters hosted four in-person information sessions to promote QUEST to prospective students. These dedicated efforts resulted in the most diverse pool of applicants in QUEST history. When discussing his time in QUEST Recruiting, leader David Rosenstein, marketing and management ‘20 (Cohort 29) said, “The students in QUEST are the program’s lifeblood, and QUEST Recruiting enabled me to give back by sharing the QUEST magic with prospective students and defining quality applicant characteristics, leaving a long-lasting impact.”

QUEST Recruiting students facilitating the team activity during new student interviews


QUEST alumni and students enjoying the Homecoming Tailgate

QUEST Social strives to build community amongst the entire QUEST program, connecting current students and alumni alike. This past fall, QUEST Social hosted a student/ alumni dinner and QUEST’s annual Homecoming Tailgate. Co-lead Grace Zhang, computer science and operations management and business analytics ‘21 (Cohort 31) shared, “QUEST Social provides a platform for members to socialize and build lasting connections and friendships!” Following the shift to remote learning in March, QUEST Social also planned several virtual events. Together with Dr. Bailey and alumnus Josh Kohn, computer science ‘13 (Cohort 18), QUEST Social planned a trivia night for students and alumni. They also planned a Zoom study break on Reading Day.



QUESTech provides opportunities for all students, regardless of major, to learn about new and innovative technology. This year, QUESTech members hosted a personal website development workshop and held their own version of TED Talks, appropriately named “Tech Talks.” As incoming colead Amod Mathur, computer science and operations management & business analytics ‘22 (Cohort 33), explained, “QUESTech encourages fluency in innovative technologies for students of both technical and nontechnical disciplines and provides opportunities for QUEST students to come together and discuss groundbreaking ideas.”

As QUEST’s newest student organization, QUESTServes works to connect QUEST students with local communities by providing opportunities to engage, enrich, and empower others through outreach, leadership, and service. This year, for their first event, QUESTServes partnered with another campus organization, Food Recovery Network, to donate leftover concessions from a men’s basketball game. Looking ahead to the fall semester, QUESTServes co-lead Ryan Gerbes, mechanical engineering ‘22 (Cohort 33), said, “I’m really looking forward to QUESTServes’ first full year. Now, more than ever, it’s so important to stand together as a community and offer support to those who need it most. QUESTServes gives students the perfect platform to serve together and transform ideas in action.”

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QUEST SOPHOMORE/JUNIOR SPOTLIGHTS Marguerite Gelinas, finance and supply chain management ‘21 (Cohort 32), is driven by a strong sense of mission. At the end of the day, she wants to help people, and ultimately, change lives. This resolute mindset has helped form her path towards healthcare. “I always wanted to be in the patient/doctor space,” Gelinas said. She even considered medical school before finding the Commercial Leadership Program at GE Healthcare last summer. During this internship, which Gelinas calls the “time of her life,” she was able to combine her passion for the medical field with her passion for her business degrees by gaining experience with medical equipment sales. Gelinas has also been able to translate her sense of mission to campus life. Even after completing the College Park Scholars Business, Society, and the Economy program, she continued to stay involved, helping out with the co-curricular activities and speaking at open houses, resulting in an Outstanding Achievement Award from the program.

Benjamin Lin, computer science ‘22 (Cohort 33), is interning with Google as a software engineer in the STEP Program this summer. “The opportunity to gain experience in software engineering is exciting because I didn’t even start computer programming until 18 months ago,” Lin explained. Although his coursework and current internship are incredibly technical, Lin has focused his free time on business and policy. Since starting at UMD, he has joined the Taiwanese American Student Association and is a member of the business operations team for Terps Racing. Like QUEST, Terps Racing is a mix of business and engineering, and the two experiences have allowed him to translate the skills he is learning in the classroom to his co-curricular passions. He has also become involved in the University Senate, serving on the Faculty Affairs Committee this past year. In the coming year, Lin will serve as a University Senator for the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences.

Michelle Lui, operations management & information systems ‘22 (Cohort 34), is working remotely this summer as a strategy consulting intern with the consumer sector of Tata, India’s only value-based corporation. “This internship connects well with my passion for conscious capitalism,” Lui explained. Her desire to have a social impact is infused in everything she does inside and outside of the classroom. For her capstone in the Honors College Design Cultures and Creativity program, Lui focused on sustainable packaging, and she’s also served as an intern for a local startup incubator where she worked to increase social entrepreneurship. Through her involvement with the UMD chapter of the American Marketing Association, she participated in a social impact case competition where she worked with Capital Area Food Bank in D.C. to better serve UMD students facing food insecurity. Having just completed her first semester in QUEST, Lui is looking forward to her future team projects because she knows she will always be making a direct impact on individuals and companies around the country and the world.

Derek Safieh, aerospace engineering ‘21 (Cohort 31), originally from Guatemala, found himself at the University of Maryland because of his passion for aerospace engineering. Though his initial focus was space, it quickly shifted to air when he began his research on campus at the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center (AGRC), one of only three centers of excellence for vertical lift in the country. Over the last three years, Safieh has been a true asset to the AGRC team, conducting research and testing new technologies. At the same time, he has worked through the QUEST curriculum, completing his capstone project with Intralox this past semester. “I knew I wanted to focus on engineering, but I wanted to do more,” he said. That led him to QUEST, where he says he’s gained skills that have directly translated to his research, specifically in following processes when building rotorcrafts. This past year, he was named as the Undergraduate Lead for QBiT Projects, which allows him to oversee numerous projects and conduct individual research.

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Marguerite Gelinas

Benjamin Lin

Michelle Lui

Derek Safieh

QUEST Honors Program

QUEST SENIORS Eighty-nine seniors graduated from QUEST this year, leaving incredible legacies at the University of Maryland and in QUEST. Our Senior Sendoff in April was held through Zoom, filled with laughter, tears, and an original song performance of “Thank U, QUEST.” Seniors got creative with their graduation celebrations at home, and we were so proud to

Senior Sendoff Celebration on Zoom

have three students chosen as Commencement Speakers for their colleges: Ankit Sheth (Fall 2019 - Robert H. Smith School of Business), David Rosenstein (Spring 2020 Robert H. Smith School of Business), and Chad Simon (Spring 2020 - A. James Clark School of Engineering).

Ankit Sheth speaks at the Fall 2019 Smith School Commencement


94% pursuing full-time jobs

39% accepted jobs with QUEST corporate partners

8% pursuing graduate studies

100% would “DO IT ALL AGAIN”

*Numbers total to more than 100% because some students are pursuing both

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QUEST Director’s Service Award David Rosenstein (Cohort 29)

QUEST Outstanding Service Awards Hadas Elazar-Mittelman (Cohort 30) Brianna Ho (Cohort 29) Shivani Krishnamurthy (Cohort 30) Celine Moarkech (Cohort 29) Ariana Riske (Cohort 29) Adam Sarsony (Cohort 29) Mary Smith (Cohort 29) Jack Sturtevant (Cohort 29) Kelli Webber (Cohort 29) Regina Wingate (Cohort 30) Olivia Wolcott (Cohort 30)

Clark School Undergraduate Honors and Awards Fischell Department of Bioengineering Outstanding Leadership Award: Erin Reilly (Cohort 29) Materials Science and Engineering Chair Award: Shannon Donaldson (Cohort 29) Mechanical Engineering Chairman’s Awards: Charles Grody (Cohort 29) and Mary Smith (Cohort 29)

Maryland Medallion Society Nikhil Modi (Cohort 30) Sally Sterling Byrd Award: Jacqueline Deprey (Cohort 30) Wilson H. Elkins Award: Doron Tadmor (Cohort 29)

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QUEST Honors Program


Smith School Undergraduate Awards Dean’s Leadership Award: Alexandra Bergman (Cohort 30) Outstanding Department Senior in Operations Management and Business Analytics: Ariana Riske (Cohort 29) Outstanding Department Senior in Marketing: David Rosenstein (Cohort 29) Outstanding Department Senior in International Business: Doron Tadmor (Cohort 29)

Pitch Dingman Competition Winners

Philip Merrill Presidential Scholars

Charles Grody (Cohort 29)

Ariana Riske (Cohort 29)

Roger Mao (Cohort 29)

David Rosenstein (Cohort 29)

Tuvia Rappaport (Cohort 29)

Doron Tadmor (Cohort 29)

Jack Sturtevant (Cohort 29)

Clark School Alumni Cup Winners

Spirit of Maryland Award

Shannon Donaldson (Cohort 29)

Nikhil Modi (Cohort 30)

Hadas Elazar-Mittelman (Cohort 30)

Mechanical Engineering Design Day’s First Place and Social and Environmental Design Impact Award

American Marketing Association Student Marketer of the Year David Rosenstein (Cohort 29)

Cavan Morley (Cohort 29)






Bain and Company


Capital One

Lockheed Martin


Annual Report 2020

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“The people in QUEST are unlike any others I’ve met at UMD. It feels so inspiring to be surrounded by so much perseverance and talent in every class I’m a part of.”

“I enjoyed the immediate sense of community and support in QUEST. No matter what the topic at hand, I knew I could count on QUEST members to help, whether it was related to class or not. Members of the faculty and staff were always approachable and helped me through so much. I wouldn’t be where I am socially or professionally without QUEST.”

“I really enjoyed the opportunity and faith the students were given to work with real-world clients. As an undergraduate student, I found it surprising how little I was able to apply the very things I learned from my lectures into action. With QUEST, this was essentially a requirement and greatly improved my experience because I felt I was actually making a difference with my innovative ideas and solutions.”

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“QUEST taught me so many skills I find myself using all of the time in my regular work. From presentation making to writing a statement of work for client engagements, I constantly find myself referencing QUEST materials and past projects.”

“QUEST allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone. QUEST truly gave me an advantage in the areas of public speaking, teamwork abilities, and networking capabilities that I otherwise would not have seen in mechanical engineering alone.”

“QUEST really jump started the professional mindset I now have and allowed me to think and carry myself in ways I didn’t before. I loved the creativity of it all and how it intersected with many of my other classes in the application of what I learned. It was hard for me not to talk about QUEST, whether to recruiters, incoming freshmen, or friends. Without QUEST, I don’t think I would have the tools to properly apply my computer science major in the real world.”

QUEST Honors Program

Annual Report 2020

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QUEST SENIOR SPOTLIGHTS Alex Bergman, operations management and business analytics ‘20 (Cohort 30), remembers the day she visited the Smith School of Business as a prospective student. As an out-of-state student from Connecticut, she was attracted to the focus on community-building. After enrolling at Smith, she immediately joined SUSA, Smith Undergraduate Student Association, where she met older students, some of whom encouraged her to apply to QUEST. “I saw the benefits I was getting from their mentorship, and it drove me to have a passion for mentorship and growing community which I carried through the rest of college,” she said.

Alex Bergman

Bergman began to seek out mentorship roles, both formally and informally. She took on positions such as Honors 100 Section Leader, New Member Assistant for her sorority, President of TAMID, a student group focused on consulting for start-ups in Israel, and QUEST 190H mentor. She gushed about her experience as a QUEST 190H mentor, noting, “It’s rare to be able to see your mentees every week so I really enjoyed watching them grow so much over the semester.”

Informally, she joined up with four other Smith students, including two from QUEST, to form the Maryland Consulting Group, a Facebook group consisting of students going through the recruiting process and exchanging recruiting resources. After connecting with Bain through QUEST alumnus Ben Hsieh, operations management ‘16 (Cohort 22), Bergman committed to a coveted internship after months of networking, casing, and interviewing. She wanted to pay it forward to other students going through the same recruiting process. QUEST taught Bergman the “step back approach” in her leadership roles. “It taught me when to slow down and take a step back versus when it’s okay to go, go go,” she said. Bergman used her QUEST experience working in diverse teams to assist TAMID as well. “We had traditionally only recruited from Smith, but as President, I encouraged the organization to put an emphasis on recruiting STEM students, and it worked. Being able to recruit a diverse class of 35 members before my presidency ended felt very impactful because I could see myself in them just two years before, and I knew how much they’d grow through the organization.” Bergman will join Bain full-time next year as an Associate Consultant in Washington, D.C. Through all of her involvements at Smith, she earned the Dean’s Leadership Award this past May. As an alumna, she looks forward to making a big impact recruiting for Bain and mentoring students who want to go into consulting. “I went to so many helpful alumni panels throughout college and am excited to be able to do that now for QUEST and beyond,” she shared.

When Jacqueline Deprey, computer science and operations management and business analytics ‘20 (Cohort 30), found herself at the University of Maryland freshman year, she felt overwhelmed and intimidated by all of the opportunities at such a large school. But four years later, it was getting involved in so many of those opportunities that she says allowed her to find her people and her niche on campus. “I had always seen myself as a computer science student first, but joining QUEST and meeting so many business and engineering students gave me a new feeling of community and inclusion,” she shared.

Jacqueline Deprey

In addition to being in QUEST and serving as a QUEST Mentor, Deprey got involved in the Gemstone Honors Program where she held roles such as Financial Liaison, Orientation Leader, Freshmen Mentor, and Teaching Assistant. As a senior, she was the Vice President of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Professional Chair of Alpha Omega Epsilon Women in STEM Sorority, Group Tourist Committee Head for Maryland Images Campus Tour Guides, Founding Member of the Student Advisory Board for Diversity and Inclusion in the Department of Computer Science, and perhaps most excitingly, the Host for Maryland Survivor.

Deprey has been able to bring a student voice to the table for many important campus projects. One of her favorite projects involved working with the Department of Computer Science to tailor the curriculum to be more inclusive of people from all backgrounds. She focused on helping professors recognize subtle biases that may exist from growing up in American culture in order to help international students feel more welcomed in the classroom. Being involved has helped Deprey learn much about herself. “Playing Maryland Survivor specifically allowed me to take risks in a low-stakes environment and do a lot of personal discovery. For example, how far was I willing to tilt my moral compass to get ahead? It allowed me to discover a sense of courage in myself, and I felt really fortunate to be able to create these opportunities for other people in my role as the Host.” Deprey is moving to New York City after graduation to join Dropbox as a Software Engineer. She “had the time of [her] life” interning at Dropbox’s headquarters last summer and getting to know the people there. “They are all very involved people like myself and seem like people I’d genuinely be friends with if I’d met them outside of work. I love that they all have passions outside of their work and recognize that their work is not their life.” Deprey hopes that through her campus involvement, she has been able to “create that sense of inclusion that other people had on me while I was a freshman. I hope I’ve been able to pay it forward and can continue to as a UMD and QUEST alumna.”

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QUEST Honors Program

QUEST SENIOR SPOTLIGHTS (CONTINUED) Doron Tadmor, international business and operations management ‘20 (Cohort 29), has always had a passion for bettering the environment around him. This meant getting involved in UMD’s governing bodies from the start. As part of the Student Government Association, University Senate, Residence Hall Association, Smith Undergraduate Student Association, and University Student Judiciary, Tadmor has worked on many key projects, all aimed at improving the student experience on campus. Through QUEST, he gained a higher understanding of “how to incorporate strategy in executing project goals and use methods like DMAIC to understand if something is an actual problem before wasting resources.”

Doron Tadmor

During freshman year, he worked with other students to encourage the Athletics Department to test the athletic fields for potential carcinogens. Sophomore year, he worked alongside the Department of Dining Services to increase international, vegan, and vegetarian food options. However, Tadmor cites the creation of the Emergency Meal Fund during his junior year as his most rewarding project.

“In 2018, the Counseling Center found that 20% of our campus was food insecure, meaning that over 8,000 students were struggling to get access to food. After speaking with impacted students and researchers from the Counseling Center, I realized that food insecurity is much more than not having access to food - it affects a students’ grades, mental health, and social life,” he explained. Recognizing an unmet need, Tadmor created the Emergency Meal Fund, which provided more than 2,400 meals for students who are food insecure. “I am proud that this fund will continue to live on past my time at UMD because all I hope to do is to leave this campus better than I found it,” he said. Tadmor has not only made a lasting impact at UMD but has lived in four countries and contributed to projects in 31 countries throughout college. He looks forward to continuing to make a global impact while pursuing his Masters in International Management at Imperial College London next year. He shared, “My goal is to work towards increasing financial and economic inclusion of rural and indigenous populations in Latin America by bringing business to them. I specifically hope to work with international companies to tailor their products to local market tastes and local startups seeking to expand to new countries.”

From his first semester at UMD, Adith Thummalapalli, mechanical engineering ‘20 (Cohort 30), became an advocate for those not always willing to advocate for themselves. He saw friends in high school struggle with mental health and wanted to learn how to help. He joined the Help Center, UMD’s peer counseling and crisis intervention hotline, and volunteered there for the past four years. “It feels really awesome knowing that sometimes all you need to do is listen, and you can help somebody immensely,” he shared. By junior year, he started advocating for his own challenges. Thummalapalli, who has a physical disability and uses a wheelchair, observed hundreds of inaccessible buildings and other obstacles across campus. Sparked by an elevator shutdown that prevented him from getting to class, he created a 24-page campus accessibility report and submitted it to the Student Government Association (SGA). With the help of SGA Vice President Doron Tadmor, whom he met through QUEST, the report caught the attention of UMD administrators, who began to rectify many Adith Thummalapalli of the issues. They changed the listserv about elevator maintenance to be opt-out instead of opt-in, started putting a stairlift in South Campus Dining Hall, and fixed many of the curb cuts Thummalapalli had pointed out in his report. The President’s Commission on Disability Issues created a brand new student committee, appointing Thummalapalli as one of three chairpeople. “I can’t believe that something I did created a momentum like this,” Thummalapalli said. “I didn’t do it for myself. I did it for all of the students who will come after me and run into these issues on a daily basis who might not want to speak out about it for whatever reason.” These days, Thummalapalli finds himself speaking to many audiences on the topic of disability advocacy. In the spring semester, a professor of ethics in engineering who read the report, reached out to invite Thummalapalli to speak to her course. “I used to be hesitant about public speaking and would not have been comfortable talking to a class of 65 students, but I’m so much more comfortable because of QUEST. I’ve learned how to tell a compelling story to really engage the audience,” he shared. Energy conservation is another passion for Thummalapalli, and he looks forward to beginning his career in building energy analysis for Mueller Associates. “I’m excited to take historic buildings and make them energy efficient using all of the new technology that exists today.” He also plans to stay involved in the President’s Commission on Disability Issues as an alumni member and attend future QUEST Conferences and presentations.

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QUEST ALUMNI INVOLVEMENT One of the greatest strengths of the QUEST program is its vibrant alumni community. In our 28th year, we have over 1,200 alumni across the world. QUEST alumni continue to be involved through social events, classroom visits, company engagements, and more. To learn more about how you and/or your company can get involved, contact QUEST Assistant Director Jessica Roffe at jroffe@umd.edu.

QUEST alumni Elijah Biggs, bioengineering ‘17 (Cohort 22) and Alexandra Malek, information systems and supply chain ‘18 (Cohort 25), left, hosted students at IBM in Washington, D.C. in early March

QUEST alumnus Steve Kutchi, mechanical engineering ‘97 (Cohort 1), right, Director of Hardware & Support Engineering at Thales, served as project champion for a fall 2019 490H team

QUEST alumni Mark Baumgardner, decision information systems & accounting ‘00 (Cohort 5), right, and Joel Liebman, finance & economics ‘09 (Cohort 14), left, represented their company Guidehouse at the Fall 2019 QUEST Corporate Networking Event

QUEST alumnus Zachary Azrael, information systems ‘19 (Cohort 27), second from right, visited 490H class to provide advice to Cohort 31 students on their capstone projects

QUEST alumnus Eric Ding, computer engineering ‘19 (Cohort 28), left, hosted students at the Capital One headquarters in McLean, VA this spring

QUEST alumni Elizabeth Gillum, marketing & supply chain management ‘19 (Cohort 28) and Michael Vetter, accounting & finance ‘19 (Cohort 28), middle, met up with current students at the Homecoming Tailgate this fall

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QUEST Honors Program

QUEST ALUMNI SPOTLIGHTS Jenna (Cohen) Beglin, finance and operations management ‘10 (Cohort 15), credits QUEST with leading her to the career path she’s on today. As a Senior Manager of Consumer Insights at Samsung, Beglin leads a team that conducts primary consumer research to help come up with and guide the design of new innovation concepts.

Jenna (Cohen) Beglin

“QUEST taught me how to problem solve and apply relevant frameworks to my everyday work. That is what led me to pursue consulting after graduating at Accenture, which was the perfect way to begin,” she shared. “Consulting gave me exposure to so many different types of projects, insight into high-level strategy, and a basis for how to break down complicated requests into manageable pieces. The one piece that was missing was the consumer. Often our strategies were developed without any input from the consumer, which seemed like a gap to me.”

To transition into a more consumer-facing role, Beglin enrolled in Cornell’s MBA program, where she discovered the world of brand and innovation consulting and ultimately landed her role at Samsung in 2018. “I love being able to hear directly from the consumer and use their input to influence the new products Samsung develops. There is something so fun about hearing a consumer say ‘I literally would never use that’ or ‘If you made this product, I would go out and buy it tomorrow’ or learning that different consumers can have completely differing opinions and behaviors. For instance, some consumers organize their apps in folders by color, which is something I never would have fathomed because it is so far from my own behavior,” she explained. As a team lead, Beglin often reflects on her experiences in QUEST teams. “I remember during orientation there was one girl I was worried I wouldn’t get along with, and of course, she ended up on my 190H team. It turned out that she was such an amazing, lovely person, and we actually bonded and got along quite well. It taught me an incredibly important lesson not to make snap judgments about people that I have carried forward with me throughout my whole life.” Beglin advises current students to take advantage of their QUEST coursework. “QUEST classes were easily the most useful and challenging classes I had while at UMD. Take them seriously, and give them your all. These are the real skill sets you need to become a valuable employee and have a successful career.”

Entering college, Nate Elencweig, mechanical engineering ‘13 (Cohort 18), was quite certain he’d become a Mechanical Engineer upon graduation. But in QUEST, he discovered the world of process improvement, data analysis, and systems thinking and realized “this is what I want to do.” His favorite course was Dr. Suarez’s systems thinking course. “My team worked on a project to design a robot DJ, which would use facial and motion recognition sensors to interpret the body language of listeners in the audience. The data would be analyzed and the optimal music selection for the audience would then be determined. We were confident that we were going to disrupt the music industry and retire at the age of 22. We were wrong,” he joked. After graduating, Elencweig found himself unemployed for eight months and decided to meet a QUEST alumna for a drink. That meeting led to an interview and ultimately a job at Accenture, where he spent the next four years. “Reflecting back, the time I spent unemployed may have been the most insightful period of my life,” he recalled. “With the economic impact of COVID-19, I know that many are worried about jobs and internships, but it’s important to recognize you’re not alone. Spend time with family and friends. Stay connected with former classmates and coworkers. Down times in your life are inevitable, but embrace the challenge, and the wins will be more meaningful.”

Nate Elencweig

As a Technology Analyst at Accenture, Elencweig worked on supply chain process improvement projects for government clients in Washington, D.C. In 2018, he moved to New York City and joined Oscar Health, a tech company taking on health insurance. Elencweig was attracted to Oscar Health’s mission of solving challenging questions such as how to navigate the complex healthcare space and overcome outdated technology and rising costs. This spring, Oscar Health partnered with a team of QUEST students in the Applied Quantitative Analysis course. He explained, “The team worked on a project that identified over $1 million in potential savings for Oscar Health by focusing on factors that impact customer retention. After watching the final presentation, a Director that I work with who has a son in college remarked, ‘I should have sent my son to Maryland.’” Working with the QUEST students was an opportunity for Elencweig to give back to the program that he says got him where he is today. “My advice to current students is not to give up on your goals. If you set a goal and stick to it, you’ll eventually land in that direction. Some goals take days. Some goals take years. Some goals don’t go exactly as planned. External factors may slow you down, but you control the trajectory of your life.”

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Kajal Pancholi

Kajal Pancholi, aerospace engineering ‘02 (Cohort 7), fondly recalls the many all-nighters spent with her QUEST teams. “Through team bonding, we built lifelong friendships and a strong professional network. I still connect often with some of my fellow Cohort 7 members today,” she shared. As an engineering student at UMD, Pancholi appreciated the soft skills she gained from QUEST. “As any engineering student will attest, the engineering curriculum is rather intense and laser-focused on developing STEM skills. QUEST added a unique learning opportunity to my overall University of Maryland experience and introduced me to valuable professional skills, such as communicating within cross-functional teams, appreciating business (not just technical) viewpoints on any project, and continuously striving to improve and enhance my work processes.”

Today, Pancholi is the President & CEO of Avatar Technologies, Inc., an aerospace engineering services and management consulting firm in Greenbelt, Maryland, and her QUEST skills still come in handy on a daily basis. “All through high school, I was never fond of public speaking or giving class presentations. As a result of QUEST, I am very confident with client pitches, business presentations, and even panel moderation in front of hundreds of international space industry professionals today!” Before running her own company, Pancholi worked at Millennium Engineering and Integration Company, a mid-sized aerospace and defense contractor in Arlington, Virginia, for 15 years. “I joined Millennium as an intern during my senior year and eventually became their Director of Business Development. In this capacity, I assisted with several different corporate development initiatives and had exposure to the nuances of operating and growing a successful aerospace and defense contracting firm. My passion for the aerospace industry and growing interest in entrepreneurship led me to run my own aerospace engineering company starting in 2016.” Recently, Avatar set a corporate goal to certify its quality management system against the international ISO 9001:2015 standard. Pancholi turned to a team of QUEST students in the capstone course to develop tailored quality management tools and techniques for the company’s operations. “We were happy with our decision and the outcome – Avatar’s on a path to become ISO 9001 certified soon, and we are implementing most of the team’s recommendations. We even hired one of the QUEST team members, Devin Rosen, Mathematics ‘19 (Cohort 27), as a summer intern to continue the project through the summer.” As CEO, Pancholi’s favorite thing is the ability to apply her robust education and experience to tackle any new situation. She advises current students to focus on working hard, volunteering for extra work projects, fostering mentorship relationships, and being flexible to new or intimidating work assignments in order to naturally become visible to the leadership team. “It may be cliché,” she said. “But, as you enter the workforce, these early career experiences will have a lasting impact on your professional journey!”

Aditya Yerramilli, finance and accounting ‘09 (Cohort 14), first discovered forensic accounting in high school. “It was during the time when some of the big accounting scandals happened in 2001 and 2002 (Enron, Worldcom), and there was a general distrust of accountants and accounting firms. This motivated me to want to be one of the ‘good guys,’ and I decided to pursue accounting in college,” he shared. At UMD, he was a part of College Park Scholars, Hinman CEOs, the American Marketing Association, and of course, QUEST. “QUEST undoubtedly taught me critical skills that I continue to lean on today. The three biggest areas that I believe QUEST helped set me up for success are: (a) how to work effectively in a cross-functional or cross-disciplinary setting, (b) understanding the ‘voice of the Aditya Yerramilli customer’ and their needs, and (c) disciplined process thinking and continuous improvement. Eleven years after graduating, these three lessons still resonate with me and have day-to-day applications in my work. In fact, just the other day, in a team meeting, we were discussing applying the house of quality approach in one of my projects,” said Yerramilli. Through his forensic accounting class at Smith, he discovered a role with PwC’s Forensic Advisory practice in Tysons Corner, Virginia. While at PwC, he worked on a range of forensic matters, such as anti-corruption, MNC corporate investigations, white collar crime, disputes, and financial statement fraud. In 2014, he transitioned to a role with Google Legal as a Data Analytics & Forensics Manager in Mountain View, California. He received a promotion last year and moved back east, continuing his role at Google in the Washington, D.C. office. Yerramilli enjoys the wonderful and talented people he works with at Google, as well as the interesting and complex problems. “I definitely appreciate the flexibility, work-life balance, and perks that come with the job at Google, too, along with the collegiate atmosphere and culture of collaboration,” he explained. Yerramilli encourages current students to spend as much time, if not more, on soft skills. “From my experience, it’s not always the smartest or most technically-capable person that is most successful. Rather, those individuals who are adept at understanding, motivating, influencing and communicating with people are the most successful.”

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QUEST Honors Program

QUEST CORPORATE PARTNERS QUEST corporate partners offer professional development opportunities for our students, enhance learning through sponsored class projects, and provide important financial support to the program. We would like to express our sincere thanks to the following corporate partners for their generous contributions to our community this year:

PARTNER WITH QUEST QUEST welcomes the opportunity to partner with organizations interested in contributing to student learning and gaining access to talented undergraduate students in business, engineering, and science. If you or your company would like to connect with QUEST students through events or projects, please contact Jessica Roffe, Assistant Director of the QUEST Honors Program, at jroffe@umd.edu.

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QUEST DONORS QUEST would like to express its sincere gratitude for the generous contributions of the following donors this year: Anonymous (7)

Mr. Joshua B. Kohn

Mr. John G. Savoy

Dr. Pamela K. Armstrong

Mr. Jonathan E. Kozlowski

Mr. Brett A. Schwab

Mrs. Samar A. Ata

Ms. Sandy Kwon

Mr. Daniel C. Schwab

Mrs. Sumin Ba

Mr. Daniel J. Laurence

Mr. Benjamin M. Seibert

Mr. Ben Baer and Mrs. Larisa Baer

Mr. Andrew M. Lee

Mr. Ehsan Shahmirzadi and

Dr. Joseph P. Bailey

Ms. Summer A. Legambi

Mrs. Goli Mojdehi

Mr. Daniel C. Ben-Or

Ms. Alissa Y. Li

Miss Victoria L. Shay

Mr. Nicholas J. Brennan

Mr. Amit Luthra

Ms. Miriam S. Silton

Mr. Ganesh P. Chandrasekaran

Mr. Lawrence J. Macklin and

Mr. Aditya Sridhar

Mr. Ying Chen

Mrs. Diane K. Macklin

Mr. Drew M. Stasak

Mr. MacKenzie W. Cooper

Mr. Brian Marquardt

Mr. Roger C. Sturtevant

Dr. Thomas M. Corsi

Mr. George P. Mavrikes

Mr. Colin B. Sybing

Ms. Shira B. Cygler

Mrs. Deborah Merwitz

Ms. Amanda K. Tang

Mrs. Kimberly D. Dalin

Mrs. Felicia Messing

Mr. Matthew Thomas

Brian P. Darmody, Esq.

Mr. William A. Millichap and

Mrs. Ianina J. Tobelmann and

Mr. Christopher E. Dax

Mrs. Sherrie C. Millichap

Mr. Matthew Tobelmann

Ms. Rachel L. DiDonna

Mr. Mark T. Nathanson

Mr. Bryan G. Towns

Mr. Steven A. Donaldson

Mr. Joseph O’Keefe

Mr. Leonid A. Velikovich

Mr. Neil G. Duggal

Mrs. Tamara L. Paidas

Ms. Caitlyn Viccora

Mr. Kevin Edwards

Ms. Melinda D. Pandiangan

Mrs. Erika M. Vivian

Mrs. Debra G. Feinberg

Mr. Amit Puri and Mrs. Mitali Kirti Puri

Ms. Quinn M. Wandalowski

Ms. Kalika Fortman

Dr. James M. Purtilo

Ms. Luxi Wang

Guodong Gao, Ph.D.

Ms. Karen J. Qi

Mr. Jason A. Ward and

Mr. Santhosh George

Ms. Lucia J. Qian

Mrs. Joana C. Ward

Ms. Maureen Graney

Ms. Kelly A. Quinn

Mr. Connor S. Welch

Ms. Shirley Han

Ms. Katherine J. Rajgopal

Mr. Jacob K. Wilkowsky

Mrs. Dana R. Hirsch

Mr. James L. Rigos

Mrs. Suzanne J. Wingate

Mr. Brian L. Horick

Mr. Richard A. Rist

Ms. Laura B. Winn

Mr. Anthony Jacques

Mrs. Jessica R. Roffe

Mr. Mingkai Xu

Mrs. Alkia Banks Jones

Mr. Howard S. Rosenstein and

Ms. Erica B. Yingling

Mr. Anthony Jones

Mrs. Sheryl A. Rosenstein

Mr. Nicholas R. Zahneis

Mrs. Anne Katz

Mrs. Temma N. Rubin

Dr. Manzoor A. Zarger

Ms. Heather M. Kerrick

Mr. Leonard B. Rus

Mr. Eric W. Zinnikas

Dr. Kylie G. King

Ms. Ankita Sahoo

Ms. Glenda J. Koby

Mr. Jeffrey M. Sangillo

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QUEST Honors Program

SUPPORT QUEST The QUEST Honors Program relies on individual and corporate gifts to support its curriculum and special programs and events. All funds raised provide direct support for students, academic programs, and co-curricular experiences. Make a gift today at go.umd.edu/QUESTgiving. To discuss unique giving partnerships, please contact Jessica Roffe, Assistant Director of the QUEST Honors Program, at jroffe@umd.edu.

WHY I GIVE TO QUEST: “QUEST was one of the most applicable academic programs to skills I actually use on a day-in-day-out basis after graduation. Tie in the super active QUEST community and leadership’s commitment to continuously improve and adapt to current market trends, and you have a winning formula. I support QUEST because I want students to have access to immersive, multidisciplinary learning experiences to foster empathetic leaders for years to come.” - Connor Welch, chemical engineering ‘16 (Cohort 22)

“The QUEST Honors program was the most impactful organization that our son, David, participated in at UMD. In QUEST, he found friends (and roommates) with whom he will remain connected throughout his lifetime - people who share similar values, drives, and aspirations. In addition to being able to engage with thoughtful, intelligent, inspiring, and innovative students within QUEST, David regularly reminds us how the QUEST faculty and staff are second to none and how the QUEST classes were truly dynamic and meaningful. We witnessed how the people in QUEST helped him grow and mature deeply and how the collaborative experiences, working with real companies, and participating in presentations such as the final capstone project, provided him with invaluable opportunities that will benefit him the rest of his life. David’s involvement in QUEST was absolutely the highlight of his undergraduate years. It is our absolute pleasure to give back to and support this most worthwhile organization for all it has given to our son!” - Shery & Howard Rosenstein, Parents of QUEST student David Rosenstein, marketing and management ‘20 (Cohort 29)

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QUEST Honors Program 7699 Mowatt Lane 1407 Van Munching Hall University of Maryland College Park, MD 20742-1815

Profile for QUEST Honors Program at the University of Maryland

QUEST Annual Report - 2020