About: In a team of five, “Air Quotes” is working with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to gauge the state of civic infrastructure in Gateway Cities across Massachusetts in order to better understand how to measure the impact of the Working Cities Challenge. Members include W. E. David Halbert, Hassan Bial, Joe Nania, Octa Soehartono, and Elizabeth Way.
Q: What lessons have you learned thus far?
A: When developing a survey tool and distribution list you can never refine too much. Additionally, the input of those outside of your project group, but within the universe you hope to survey, can be incredibly helpful in determining whether or not what you are trying to ask is what you are actually asking.
Q: What challenges have you encountered and how is your team navigating those challenges?
A: We have encountered more difficulty than we originally anticipated in soliciting robust participation in the survey. In response, we have worked as a team and with our project sponsors to aggressively think outside of the box and identify sectors and individuals who have interesting and non-traditional perspectives on what civic infrastructure truly means.
Q: What has been your team’s favorite moment and why?
A: The piloting phase of survey tool development has been our favorite part of this project so far. During this phase we were empowered and encouraged by our faculty advisors and the project sponsors at the Fed to conduct in depth conversations with true leaders in civic life in the region and across the state. It was a great taste of what many of us hope to do once we finish our time at Northeastern.
Q: How has this semester-long project allowed you to grow in your chosen fields?
A: We each truly took Professor [Alicia Sasser] Modestino’s suggestion about working outside of our comfort zones to heart. Each of our team members brings a unique set of experiences to the table that have contributed to our success thus far. More importantly, we have each learned to depend on one another and use this as an opportunity to both teach and learn as a group.
Q: If you had to describe your capstone experience in three words, what would it be and why?
A: Focused | The time constraints in working on this project, in addition to other courses, jobs, and our personal lives, have required that we all become even better at tuning out distractions.
Collaborative | Whether in our work as a team, with our advisors, or with the staff at the Fed, this project has been a great example of the whole truly being greater than the sum of its parts.
Hopeful | After working as a team on a project that has the potential to be so impactful it is hard to imagine handing our work back over to the Fed and walking away at the end of the semester. Even so, we all believe in what we are doing and more importantly believe that it will contribute to some truly innovative work around the issue of civic infrastructure in the future. Being a part of that continuum is incredibly affirming.
"But if people fundamentally don't feel like their voice was heard, don't feel like they benefited financially … then ultimately, did we actually build resilience in the community?" @BostonAtyia recently told @WBUR when discussing #climateresilience. wbur.org/earthwhile/…
We’re on a lunch break @BARIboston after an energizing morning of panels surrounding #bostondata. We’ll be live-streaming this afternoon’s closing session at 4 pm: m.facebook.com/north… // #sppua pic.twitter.com/iqBt…