By Aina Zaidi
Before Bootcamp, our project idea was General Intelligences, with a focus in expanding our outreach and continuing the programs we have in place, as well as improving them. As Bootcamp went on, we began to make more concrete plans and put things in a more realistic and reachable viewpoint. We received feedback that our audience could be too broad, and someone else said that our audience could be broader. So, we have to take this feedback into account and decide on where we want to go from here and if we want to change our audience at all. It made us reconsider, “Was our presentation not specific enough, that there was a misunderstanding from the panelists? Should we edit our presentation instead?” We also received feedback to not engage heavily with trying to get an official 501c(3) operation going, because it is a lot of hassle and nitty-gritty details. Going forward, we can also focus more on the mentorship aspect of our program and seek to make that better; we received feedback on that portion, and it’s clear that mentorship is crucial in programs like this. I thought Bootcamp was a rewarding experience, and it’s clear that a lot of effort went to make it interactive and engaging for the students despite the pandemic. The engagement with the audience was good, and the presentations were informative and relevant. I particularly learned from the financial presentation, and it began to make things feel a lot more “real!”
By Magda Wojtara
Project idea before Bootcamp?
General Intelligences was in a bit of a unique position as we already had the groundwork for a successful organization. However, we went into Bootcamp with an open mind on how to improve in three key areas: Legitimacy, Inclusivity, and Interactivity. Overall, Gen Intel is a non-profit organization that aims to mitigate education inequity and help students 17-26 years old domestically and internationally from economically disadvantaged and historically marginalized backgrounds. We aim to do so via cultivating an understanding of how to navigate the “hidden curriculum” providing free & high-quality resources for developing important adult life skills and building students’ social capital. Our current offerings include a Mentorship Capstone Program, Webinars (with industry professionals), Workshops (by students for students), and our E-Magazine. These programs enhance a student’s personal agency and skillset while giving them a means to further contribute to their communities by raising awareness of generational and structural issues.
Idea evolution over the course of Bootcamp?
Good ideas are continually evolving- that’s what makes a good idea a great one. Adapting to relevant input and changes is also what makes a good team a great one. Capstone was incredibly helpful in providing us with guidance on how to take General Intelligences to the next level while ensuring measures that will promote its long-term sustainability. As with most experiences, there are a lot of pieces of advice that are subjective and perhaps may contradict earlier advice from another expert, so it’s important to parse through all the incredible feedback and see what components to really address. Something that our team spent a lot of time working on was debriefing and really listening and analyzing all the feedback we were provided, which was helpful in indicating our key implementation goals and KPIs for the program. We were able to come up with SMART goals that provided a clear trajectory for the project improvement phases going forward. Additionally, receiving feedback like “our audience might be too broad,” (or too specific!), and knowing which battles to choose from (choosing to avoid 501c(3) logistics in favor of other long-term goals), helped us to think about what we might want to change as our project moves forward.
Personal highlights of Bootcamp.
- The virtual format was certainly unique, but it was great to be able to connect and speak with other members of the cohort and get their perspectives. Everyone is so passionate about their projects and it’s such a breath of fresh air given all the horrible news we’ve gotten used to seeing over the past year.
- Defining and Measuring Success, was one of our favorite workshops of bootcamp! It helped us to think through where we needed additional student and stakeholder input/feedback and also what metrics (qualitative and quantitative) we will be using to track our success.
- There are so many skills that we were able to develop and will ultimately have first-hand experience with by the end of the program. From communication (concise articulation of ideas) to finances and budgeting, there are so many opportunities to learn something new.
- We gained so many pieces of great advice from our GA and from other speakers that we will be able to utilize to take our organization to the next level.
- Bootcamp was a rewarding experience and it’s clear that a lot of effort went into making it interactive and engaging for the students despite the pandemic. The engagement with the audience was good and the presentations were informative and relevant.
- We particularly learned from the financial presentation and it began to make things feel a lot more “real!”
- Going forward, we can also focus more on the mentorship aspect of our program and seek to make that better; we received feedback on that portion and it’s clear that mentorship is crucial in programs like this.
By Navdeep Kaur
Before bootcamp, our idea for the future of General Intelligences was pretty broad and although we had great ideas, it was a bit tougher to put those great ideas into concrete action steps. Thus, bootcamp was the perfect place for us to take a lot of time to think critically about our goals and next steps. I, especially, was a little more lost when it came to the financial aspect of this organization prior to bootcamp. Luckily, Mary and everyone else was able to lay out the fundamentals of the finances clearly, and it made us feel more comfortable with how to go about using the money awarded to us. The amount of organization in this bootcamp helped us gather all of our thoughts effectively, such as with the SMART goals organization. We also received terrific feedback from everyone that helped us further develop our goals and ideas. It was really helpful to have an outside pair of eyes look at our project and give us input. Additionally, it was interesting to learn about everyone else’s ideas and their projects.