Capstone 2017 – Impact Statements – Barger Leadership Institute Student Voices

Capstone 2017 – Impact Statements


With the resources and leadership that BLI has taught us, we are working on increasing females in the field outside of the Code Down too. We hope that five years from now, even if ArborHacks isn’t still working with BLI, that they still reach to increase the amount of females in the CS field.

With the help of BLI we were able to take an event that we had helped us and were able to extend it to more Michigan students while also helping address the issue of diversity in tech

We hope that ArborHacks will continue to hold coding competitions and workshops that have resources for girls in CS. Maybe, they could even have a workshop with soley females in which the girls can learn and engage with successful women in the industry. 

Emotions In Action: 

With the help of the BLI Capstone Program, we were able to create and implement a mentoring program to teach middle school students emotional and stress management techniques while also building our professional network and practicing our leadership skills.


Quirk ​is ​only ​just ​beginning. ​BLI ​was ​the ​data ​driven ​spring ​board ​that ​has ​launched ​us ​to ​the next ​level. ​With ​the ​help ​of ​all ​our ​summer ​and ​fall ​research, ​we ​applied ​to ​the ​Zell Entrepreneurs ​Program, ​the ​Michigan ​Business ​Challenge, ​and ​TechArb, ​the ​local ​student accelerator. ​We ​were ​accepted ​into ​the ​Zell ​Entrepreneurs ​Program! ​This ​comes ​with ​additional funding, ​mentorship, ​and ​networking. ​The ​program ​will ​conclude ​in ​April ​with ​a ​trip ​to ​Israel ​to visit ​the ​sister ​program. ​We’ve ​also ​made ​it ​to ​Round ​Two ​of ​the ​Michigan ​Business ​Challenge and ​we ​were ​even ​additionally ​accepted ​into ​the ​Michigan ​Business ​Challenge’s ​Seigell ​Impact Track. ​In ​January, ​we ​will ​be ​competing ​to ​raise ​our ​next ​rounds ​of ​funding ​that ​should ​hopefully get ​us ​through ​our ​first ​product ​launch. ​To ​top ​it ​off, ​we ​were ​accepted ​into ​TechArb! ​The program ​starts ​on ​January ​3rd, ​and ​provides ​us ​with ​office ​space, ​mentorship, ​networking, ​and continued ​education. ​Quirk’s ​future ​is ​looking ​bright, ​thanks ​to ​the ​early ​help ​of ​BLI ​and ​the London ​Idea!

Michigan First: 

BLI has helped with the idea by continuing providing the support and mentorship. BLI always pushed me to look at a bigger picture in regards to the work I do and also how it’s used. BLI helped the idea of what we produce come together, especially as challenges came about.

With the help of the BLI Capstone Program, I was able to put into work the ideas I am passionate about and explore the world of research and intervention. BLI helped me transition my focus on me being the first to go to college to how can I help those who are also amongst the first in their family to go to college. With the help of the BLI Capstone Program, I also gained networking skills, many of which will continue to be a resource for me on a personal scale.


Overall this project has provided us with an experience to follow an idea from construction to execution. Along the way, we learned that things never go according to plan; however, they always work out in the end. It is important to remember the larger picture of what this project is trying to accomplish and that achieving tasks requires collaboration and communication. Moreover, having a strong team and mastering the art of delegation is key. With the help of the BLI Capstone Program, I was able to learn true how true dedication and passion can result in measurable impact. This is the first time that I (Clara Li) has worked extensively on a project outside of the classroom and without the normal academic stakes, which was valuable because I learned how to be accountable for my own work and to learn how to explore other interests outside the lecture hall.  


The BLI Capstone has had a strong effect on us understanding what our project actually looks like and why, but ultimately, the long term plan was general enough to stay in place even through those changes.

The biggest impact we think the BLI Capstone program has had on our project was to provide a framework for us to include data-driven insights. We most likely would have stopped customer discovery after our initial summer validation in order to pursue the product, but BLI encouraged us to gather more data and put off product planning until we had a more thorough understanding of the student orgs ecosystem, which turned out to be incredibly valuable — we would have gotten off on the wrong foot and spent weeks or longer building a product that would have ultimately turned out to be unviable.

Overall, we learned many skills that will carry over to future projects. The most important of these were: 

  • Scope control and specifying market segment 
  • Data and interview-based, decision-making 
  • Repeated rounds of hypothesis testing and concept validation 
  • The ability to communicate project changes in written form 
  • Selecting features for, and designing the deployment of a minimum viable product

With the help of the BLI Capstone program, we were able to gain firsthand experiences that demonstrated the importance of talking to users/customers in trying to build a product for them, as well as learning how to actually collect that data.

With the help of the BLI we were able to obtain the necessary resources in order to see this product through. Additionally, we were provided with invaluable advice and feedback from everyone in the BLI, and specifically our GA, Ivy.


The BLI Capstone helped us refine our idea, our audience, and essentially turn a lot of energy going into various directions into super-concentrated beams of energy in specific things. We will continue to grow asa team and live up to our values. With the help of the BLI Capstone Program, I was able to scale the project; adopt a more lean approach and mentality to project management; experiment, fail and succeed; and financially support team. Along the way the most critical lessons I learned were that it’s important to pause and reflect; getting buy-in from all stakeholders is critical; having a specific, measurable end goal is always better than being vague; and its better to build, measure, reflect instead of just charging ahead without informed decisions. In the future, I can see myself being involved in the BLI Community and the Capstone. I’m willing to mentor teams around specific tools such as the business/mission model canvas, ideation and design thinking, and just walking through specific problems.

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