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CC Puts a Face on Innovation

Project Unveiled at Innovation Showcase

CC Puts a Face on Innovation

Colorado College has launched a Faces of Innovation project that highlights the work of innovative faculty, alumni, and students. The project currently features 11 members of the Colorado College community and their stories, including Shawn Sears ’98 and Laura Dickerson Sears ’99; Beza Taddess ’15; Azeem Sola ’14; Associate Professor of Art Rebecca Tucker; Paul-miki Akpablie ’16; Chip Collins ’77; Mark Fiore ’91; Margaret Liu ’77; Jennifer Cajina-Grigsby ’14; and Matt Valeta ’12.

The project, which was unveiled on the first day of CC’s three-day Innovation Showcase, seeks to put names and faces to the many creative and inventive people in the CC community. It highlights their aspirations and accomplishments, which range from driving global health equity to enabling more reliable communications to leading sustainable forestry.

Many of those featured have anecdotes about growing up or personal stories that influenced their lives. Akpablie’s story, for example, demonstrates how electricity was a problem he experienced in Ghana, and his innovation is in response to that.

Those selected also tend to have been active participants in programs that foster innovation on campus (Venture Grants, State of the Rockies, etc). Akpablie was supported by The Big Idea and a scholarship to attend a competition at Harvard. In a video clip, Cajina-Grigsby discusses the financial support she received through Venture Grants and the professors that supported her goals. The implementation of the I.D.E.A. Space allowed Tucker to "make the museum the classroom" and work with actual objects.

The project also looks at the impact they hope to make. Most were selected because their goal is to investigate social and environmental challenges, understand the context in which they exist, identify sustainable solutions, and put them into action, a tenet in the “Building on the Block Plan.” Because of their personal experiences and the support from CC, they now endeavor to change something. This is their actual "innovation."

Over the next few months CC will establish a system to accept recommendations for inclusion, as Faces of Innovation continues to grow with additional stories. The project builds on a major theme of the Innovation Showcase: Innovation is not new to Colorado College; the college has fostered it for years, even if it hasn't always been called "innovation." It recognizes that innovations occur because individuals work hard to make them happen. The project highlights the innovative work the CC community is doing and has done, inspiring others to collaborate with them and fostering innovation throughout generations of graduates.