Wednesday, November 14

Club launches website to connect inquisitive students with upperclassmen mentors


DevX, a club that creates apps and online products geared toward UCLA students, held a soft launch earlier this month for BQuest, a website that links students considering different majors with upperclassmen ambassadors from similar fields of study. (Photo courtesy of Linea Anderson)

DevX, a club that creates apps and online products geared toward UCLA students, held a soft launch earlier this month for BQuest, a website that links students considering different majors with upperclassmen ambassadors from similar fields of study. (Photo courtesy of Linea Anderson)


This post was updated May 23 at 12:35 a.m.

A new website aims to connect underclassmen who want to declare or switch their majors with upperclassmen mentors.

DevX, a club that creates apps and online products geared toward UCLA students, held a soft launch in January for BQuest, a website that links students considering different majors with upperclassmen ambassadors from similar fields of study. The club plans to officially launch the website fall quarter.

Upperclassmen can sign up to serve as mentors and fill out a profile, which contains their declared majors and minors, a brief bio and a complete list of classes they have taken. Students who entered UCLA undeclared or want to switch their current major search through profiles.

Once students find a mentor, they can then meet and discuss any topic related to their time at UCLA, including classes, career paths and extracurricular activities, said Linea Brink Andersen, a third-year linguistics student and product manager for BQuest.

“Talking with a person who’s done (the classes) has always given me some insight in making decisions,” she said.

Andersen said the app is targeted toward incoming first-years who enter UCLA undeclared. She said she hopes BQuest will give them an opportunity to learn about a variety of academic and career paths, especially ones they may not have previously considered.

“In my experience, when you’re considering a major that may be less well-known, you may not really know about a major, and it may be something you want to hear more about,” she said.

DevX began advertising the product to friends and other DevX members during the soft launch and it hopes to expand the program in the fall by advertising to next year’s incoming first-year students, said Alex Longerbeam, a second-year computer science student and back-end developer at DevX.

“We’re really pushing to get as many ambassadors involved at the end of the spring quarter as possible,” he said.

Ambassadors can meet with mentees as often as they want, Andersen said. However, DevX plans to encourage mentors to meet with their mentees often and offer advice, she added.

The team behind the product is also working to add features to the app so students can search for potential ambassadors, contact students in their field and schedule meetings on the platform.

Ram Goli, a second-year computer science student and front-end developer at DevX, said he and his team are also working to create a scheduling tool similar to When2meet on the app. With the tool, students and ambassadors could input their availability and find times when they are mutually available.

“We want to build our tool into the messaging interface so people have one centralized place to speak to their ambassador,” he said.

Students who entered UCLA undeclared or unsure of their major have expressed interest in the program, and said it could have helped them learn more about courses or majors they were considering.

Hannah Roberson, a third-year sociology student, said she wishes she had had someone to speak to when she switched out of anthropology her first year.

“It would have been nice to have someone explain the major, describe future classes and tell me what their experience was,” she said.

Conor McCaulley, a first-year business economics student, also said he is interested in BQuest’s services because he is looking into studying architecture and said he would like a service that would allow him to learn more about the field.

“I quickly realized that my interests lay more in the realm of design,” he said. “Having a tool like BQuest would be incredibly helpful for finding people to help navigate the process of switching majors.”

Longerbeam said he has enjoyed the opportunity to serve as an ambassador to underclassmen through other clubs and has found it to be a rewarding experience. He added he thinks the program is an opportunity for upperclassmen to give back to the UCLA community.

“I think it’s a great platform for people to pay it forward and help out other students, the way they may have been helped out when they were younger,” he said.

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