Creativity & Innovation Block 8 Newsletter

From Dez Stone Menendez, Director of Creativity & Innovation at CC

“I feel a tremendous amount of pride in the C&I team when I look at how the program has exponentially grown over the last six years.”

Innovators in Residence: AY2021 – 2022

Since its inception in 2016, the Innovator in Residence program has quickly become one of our signature programs. The program’s goal is to deeply embed creative professionals from a range of fields into the Colorado College community. Our Innovators work closely with faculty and staff to develop activities and assignments that invite students to engage their creativity and make dynamic connections between ideas. This year we hosted seven Innovators who brought a wealth of riches to each interaction with faculty, students, and community members.
For more information about the Innovators in Residence program, click here. 

Creativity & Innovation Affiliated Courses and Workshops

Comments from Faculty Who Have Collaborated with Creativity & Innovation

“That was a fascinating workshop, and I could tell the students got a lot out of it. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your expertise in a way that was both intellectually interesting and pragmatically helpful.”   
“The final creative project assignment for block one of the class was a big experiment because I hadn’t done something like this before. It was extremely helpful to have C & I come in and help the students get started. You came in at these opportune moments in the class where there was still some fear around the open-ended nature of the creative assignment. The C & I exercises were about moving through and moving beyond that fear.” 
“The daily check-in is serving as a comforting ritual and community-building activity for our class. It has also been a nice way to make sure we hear from everyone about how they are doing. People are opening up more each day. Thank you so much for your help in getting us started on this fantastic activity.”
“Your presentation in class today was AMAZING, and I am so grateful for the beautiful work you shared with us! I know it will stay with me and my students for a long time. We really dug deep and got to some amazing places. It was such an honor to have you visit the class.” 
“A student noted that the C & I exercise changed the way she approached her tendency toward control. By working with someone else’s object, she was able to take on, for a second, an unfamiliar attitude—one of creative abandon.” 
“I think your activities really helped the students generate ideas and think about their final projects from new perspectives.” 

Comments From Students Who’ve Interacted with Creativity & Innovation

“This workshop gave me problem-solving skills I will continue to use in my workplace, but also in most social interactions.”
“This exercise is one of those activities I will remember after leaving CC because it puts things in perspective.” 
“The most enriching part of this experience was the lack of expectations placed on us coupled with the amount of time that we had to just settle into where we were. Without having strict expectations or objectives, I feel like all of us were able to figure out what we wanted to get out of it personally, allowing each of us to become invested in our own way.”
“We have so much to learn from the land and non-human life. We need to treat it with far more respect and practice reciprocity.”
“This opportunity helped me to explore self-expression. Through this project, I pushed myself to create, and it turned out to be not that bad. I appreciate this chance because it opens new ways to respond to artwork as an audience member.” 
“It was powerful to remember that there are other creatures that have their own lives that take place in an unseen world. It was an eye-opening experience, and I would like to show my appreciation to the land as often as I can now.”
“The workshops were extremely helpful for me. I struggle with letting my creative side out and the workshop with the object description really forced me to think outside of the neat box that STEM at CC has pushed me into throughout my time here. I think the tools the workshop armed us with were great.”
“The activity forced me to think deeply and out of the box about solutions for problems I had never even thought of before. It was impactful, and I was impressed with myself and my final presentation of the problem and solution.”
“By letting go and letting creative confidence have a space to blossom, I had many great ideas that eventually became my final project.” 

Faculty Grants

Since 2018, Creativity & Innovation has awarded over $120,000 in grants to fund faculty and staff projects. 
More about faculty & staff grants can be found here

Student Seed Innovation Grants

In AY2021-2022, Creativity & Innovation funded 9 Student Seed Innovation Grants (SSIG) for a total of $54,770 in grant money. 
For more information about the Student Seed Innovation Grant program, click here

Creativity & Innovation AY21-22 Staff Highlights

Jessica Hunter, Associate Director of Creativity & Innovation

“With the premiere of Boy mother / faceless bloom in February, a four-year multi-partner collaboration came to fruition! In 2018, Creativity & Innovation and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College began a long-term project with the artist collaborative Juni One Set (Senga Nengudi, Eddy Kwon, Crow Nishimura, and Joshua Kohl) to develop a new multi-media performance piece. In February 2022, the group presented the finished product to sell-out crowds in the Cornerstone Arts Center black box theater. Along the way, the CC community had an extraordinary opportunity to witness creative collaboration in action between the artists and the many partners who worked tirelessly to create the conditions in which creativity thrives. A special thank you to Ryan Bañagale, Director of the Arts at CC, for not letting a beautiful dream die.”

Dez Stone Menendez, Director of Creativity & Innovation

“Getting to do my First Monday Talk in Block 4 and finally having the opportunity to share the larger vision and part of my story with students was meaningful.” 
To watch Dez’s First Monday talk, click here

Kate Carroll, Administrator, Creativity & Innovation

“A highlight was an interview with SSIG recipient, Logan Henning, discussing his octocopter project.”

A Conversation with Logan Henning, Student Seed Innovation Grant Recipient

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a fourth-year physics major at Colorado College. Technically I’m a junior because I took a gap semester to do an internship with this company called Rainforest Connection and a gap semester to do an internship with NASA.

What is the Student Seed Innovation Grant project that you are working on?

[My SSIG project is an] octocopter project that I’ve named Open Octo because it’s an open-source project to learn how to build an octocopter that you can fly on. If you’ve ever seen a drone, those are called quadcopters because they have four propellers on them. What I’m building has eight. It’s large scale—it’s going to be about 11 feet by 11 feet. It’s going to have eight big propellers and I’ll be able to fly on it. The main goal of the project is to make manned flights more accessible. 

What are some of the benefits of working on this project?

I’ve connected with some really cool people in the aerospace engineering world. I’ve met with different founders of aerospace companies to talk about how they built their own company, and how [they took] an idea from the beginning prototype stages to an actual product.

What has been your build process?

There are a couple of different main phases that you go through when you’re prototyping something like this. First, the research phase: you have to understand the technology behind it and know what else has been tried in the industry so that you’re not redoing other people’s work. It took about nine months to research. After the research phase, you’ve got to acquire all the parts and start assembling. Once you assemble your first prototype, it’s just iteration on iteration, improving on the things you don’t like about it.

What’s the future of your project?

The way this project is oriented is open source. Basically, everyone has access to every single file that I’ve ever created related to this project. If someone’s motivated, they can follow in my steps and do exactly what I’ve done. I have thought about turning it into a business where I just provide the parts, and then someone can follow along with the manual and not worry about anything except putting it together themselves. So maybe I’ll turn it into a business, but at present I see it influencing my future because I plan on going into aerial vehicle engineering for a career. Through this project, I’ve been able to connect with a bunch of different companies.

Do you have any advice for students who are considering applying for a Student Seed Innovation Grant?

Yeah. Tip number one: just do it. I’ve learned so much through this project, more than in any class or in any other job I’ve ever worked. [SSIG] gives you the opportunity to really dive into something that you’re passionate about. Once you start diving into the project, the more you learn about your project, the more you get into it, the more fun it becomes. When I started this project, I was like, “This will be a fun project, but I’m not sure I really want to commit to this big of a thing.” But the more I got into it, I was like, “This is freaking awesome.”

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