Student Stories



 Gleb Berkez 

BI Business Finance returning for Computer Science 

BI Finance


Story: I joined the BI program to see what it offered. The BI program looked like it encompassed important things lost in traditional education, such as working with clients to get real-world experience. I enjoyed creating products and working with clients while in the BI. For three years, I worked with friends and colleagues to build and establish multiple small businesses in his local community. I learned how to apply the lessons taught in the BI courses to real life. Lessons such as how to lead a team, how to work with clients professionally, and how to convert ideas into action. Investors invest in people, not ideas which is something that I learned while in the program. The business program helped me to learn skills and network with people in businesses of interest. I enjoyed my time in the BI program.

Year graduated: 2018

Current Profession: Part Time Waiter while re-attending UCCS for Computer Science


 Jac Lebbs

BI Business Administration with an emphasis in Information Systems and   continued into a Master’s Degree in Business Administration

Business Administration


Story: I started as a technician in the IT department at UCCS and used those skills to become an IT technician off campus. I joined the BI program because it was a unique and interesting opportunity that I wanted to experience. Working with different local companies to solve problems while creating lasting professional bonds was a big part of my time in the Bachelors of Innovation program. The entrepreneurship courses in the BI program taught me how to convince people to buy products and how to sell myself to customers. The consulting side of the BI program, where I talked to people, helped me learn how to communicate with them. The program helped me learn how to interact with many different people through the many projects in the program. The cross-emphasis allowed me to have a defined set of courses that gave me a good vision of where I was heading with my professional life. This allowed me to avoid courses that were not relevant to my intended career goals. I was able to go into UCCS as a computer science major and then switch to a business administration major my Sophomore year and still stay in the BI program. 

The various projects in the core classes that were brought into the school by the Colorado Springs community were the best experiences that I had in the program. I made connections while in the program that I still have today. One of my connections that I kept in contact with work with the salvation army, and they asked me to modernize their fundraising for their local chapter because they knew that I had the relevant experience from the BI program to help them appeal to newer audiences. Another project that I worked on that was ahead of its time was a computer startup where I worked with an ex-marketing employee of a big tech company that had the idea to bring cheap and user-friendly technology to the elderly. The idea was to create a computer that would boot up and work instantly, alleviating technological woes. I was able to form this connection before entering the tech world because of the BI program. I was able to leverage this experience during my career development by using my connection with his network in the field to get my name out there. 

The BI gave me the skills to be a project manager by combining business skills, such as professional writing, team building, and presentation skills. I learned how to work with teams when in the program. Technical writing taught me how to write professionally, and I use that skill every day that I go to work. The many courses in the program in which I needed to present my findings to the class really benefited me by allowing me to mess up and learn from that to better my presentation skills.

Current Profession: IT Business Analyst at Quick Quack Car Wash


Lucas Ansel

BI Cyber Security



Story: I started college with the goal of working in the FBI. I joined the BI program by pursuing the Cyber Security major and really enjoyed the BI program. Out of the eight BI courses, I took six of them with Dr. Styles. Dr. Styles is very inclusive and does not care about status, race, or gender in her classes. The BI Program introduced me to many opportunities and allowed me to explore who I am as well as what caused me to be this way. I was asked to be Dr. Styles' teacher's assistant, and I took the opportunity because she cares if you succeed. I have used my experience in the BI program to "get on the court" (making connections in the professional field), as well as using the failing fast ideology to pick myself up quickly after mistakes and keep on moving forward. Don't be afraid to ask for help, and if you fail, you fail. Don't apologize for not doing something. Just work harder to be better. The BI has changed my life for the better.

Year Graduated: May 2022

Current Profession: Deloitte Accounting Advisor


Sawyer Bain

  BI Finance

BI Finance


Story: When I started at UCCS, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to major, but while visiting, I kept hearing about the BI program, and that piqued my interest. The program set me up with real-world clients, helped me build my resume, and gained real-world experience while expanding my experience with classmates from differing majors. Every class had different responsibilities and interesting subjects to cover, which kept me enthusiastic about the program. During the program, I learned how to: write grants in my technical writing course, how to write patents in my business law course, how to work with clients that come to the school for help in my innovation courses, and how to hone my leadership skills when working in groups. My favorite project from the BI program was when I got to lead a team in my innovation 4010 courses and work with our client, The Downhill Sports Federation. A big part of why I stayed in the BI program was because of the experienced professors that cared about us students and pushed us to do the best we could. My favorite professor in the program, Dr. Stiles, was a huge component of my success because she taught me how to “get on the court,” which meant putting myself out into the field for opportunities when they arose. As long as I am putting myself out there for opportunities, I can make the things that need to happen, happen. 

The BI program helped me realize that I am capable of anything that comes my way. A big takeaway during the program was when I had a group member that did not pull their weight, and the rest of the group compensated for that member throughout the semester. We were told at the end of the semester that we were harming that group member by allowing them to skate for their first time on a team project. If you do not address the problem from the beginning, it will get worse over time, and the only way for someone to improve is for them to realize they are not doing what they are supposed to. The BI helped me to get my job, from the BI being on my resume to the skills that I have learned throughout the program.

Year Graduated: 2022

Current Profession: Escape CamperVans County Coordinator


  Christopher Breeze

BI Computer Security

BI Computer Security


Story: I chose the BI program because I enjoyed the innovation classes, the structure of the program, and the opportunity and exposure to real-world experience that the classes would provide me. I enjoyed the BI program because it taught me that learning how to take everything you are and finding opportunities that fit you well rather than taking any opportunities that come your way is important in your journey through life. I use what I learned in the BI every day. Be on the court, define your ethics and apply them when approaching opportunities. The BI helped me contextualize who I am and what I want to bring into the opportunities in my life.

Growing up, I was interested in going into innovation to see what it was like, and the BI was the perfect program. During my time in the program, I worked with Dr. Boult in the VAST Lab to work on machine learning research. I also helped to write a patent for a project my business law professor, Dr. Lewis, was working on. Another great experience that I had in the program was when I worked with Dr. Stiles in my technical writing class while writing my RFP (Request for Proposal), which announced the project that I was working on described it and offered the project up to potential supporters. The RFP was set up like it would be in the real world and I was graded on whether or not Dr. Stiles would invest in my project. While talking to Dr. Stiles about how to make a positive impact in whatever career path I took, she told me that it does not matter what you do as long as you start somewhere.

Year Graduated: 2018

Current Profession: Senior Software Engineer for Spire


Craig Lyday

BI Computer Security

BI Computer Security


Story: I was always interested in computer science, and I had my associate degree in computer science from Pikes Peak community college before attending UCCS. I worked in testing and development for a company before I decided to return to school and get my bachelor's degree. That position gave me experience working with a wide range of clients from diverse backgrounds, as well as getting experience with the Microsoft Teams app. When looking at UCCS, I was looking at a BS in Computer Science, then after doing research found the BI of Cyber Security with a cross core in business. The focus on computer security and the cross-discipline in business was a very appealing major because it gave me computer security skills and the business skills to utilize them outside of the classroom. My favorite courses in the BI program were business law and technical writing, which were new information for me and weren't offered by any other degree program. 

The focus on working with a team through Microsoft Teams, while not new to me, was very important, and I learned more about having the confidence to lead a team and how to work well with a team. The BI program added to my real-world work experience by focusing on innovation and pulling people together from different backgrounds to make a good team. The Microsoft Teams experience that I got from my innovation courses helped to build my confidence by allowing me to practice my day-to-day interactions with other people in a similar setting to my previous and current work experience. In the real world, you have to talk to people whether you like it or not, and the BI helped me to be ready for it.

The BI does a good job of creating a smooth transition between college and a career because of its focus on preparing you for the work that goes into having a hybrid work environment where Microsoft Teams meetings are commonplace. The BI innovation courses are taught virtually through Microsoft Teams to get students familiar with the service so that it can be used after college. The work experience that I had before the BI program is not very easy to separate from the BI experience that I gained from the program. The BI program simulated my own real-world experiences and provided me with valuable team-building skills that I use in my career today.

Year Graduated: 2022

Current Profession: Lockheed Martin in Cyber Security


Chris Blackburn

 BI in Business Administration with a cross-discipline in Engineering Technology

​ Engineering Technology


Story: I started at UCCS, intending to obtain a Mechanical Engineering major. Once I learned of the BI program, I realized that I could bridge the gap between engineering and business, and I was very interested. While in the innovation courses, I was exposed to perspectives from multiple majors while gaining leadership skills. My biggest takeaway came from my talks with Dr. Boult, Dr. Kwitek, and Dr. Stiles, in which each professor gave me advice and shared their wisdom for me to use in my life. Dr. Stiles told me to get on the court, which meant getting myself out into the business world so I could take part in my introduction to the field.

When we worked with our first client in the innovation courses, our team stumbled and spent a lot of time trying to complete additional aspects of the project, but in doing so learned how to fail forward. Failing to meet all of our requirements allowed me to learn about how failure is just a step on the road to success. Every project has a bigger purpose than busy work in the BI program. As soon as I graduated from UCCS, I got a job at Lockheed Martin working on my first satellite project, leading me to the realization that it’s good to try new things to better individual growth. The BI program taught me how to present myself in every situation, such as an interview or even in just day-to-day stuff. The day-to-day stuff is communicating with friends and coworkers in a more professional and well-thought-out manner. In the end, the BI program helped to ignite my entrepreneurial skills, and I am using those skills to start a Coffee business with my friend.

Year Graduated: 2019

Current Profession: Systems Engineer at Infinity Systems Engineering


Maggie Beltz

BI Business Administration with an emphasis in Creative Communication

Creative Communication


Story: I entered the BI program after talking to my academic advisor, who informed me that the BI program was a team-focused degree. I loved having professors that are out there in the real world with their businesses and plenty of real-world experience that still care about us students. Dr. Stiles is very blunt and will push you to do better in the work you do in your own best interest. By blunt, I mean that she puts your interests first and will not let you turn in anything that she believes is not your best work. I enjoyed the personal attention and dedication that I received from the professors in the BI program. Dr. Stiles is the definition of driving innovation. She made time for me to ask questions and for me to get advice from her, which contributed to my list of reasons to stay in the program. 

In my Innovation 3010 course, I worked with the founders of MTV to work on their patterning app, which was outside of my field of knowledge, but it helped me learn how to work with new people and new subjects, which has been a skill that was crucial in my professional career. I appreciated how our clients, James and Matt, sat down with us college students and treated us like co-workers rather than college students while meeting with us every week for our innovation client meetings. My innovation courses have provided me with team-building experiences that have been invaluable in my life after graduation. The BI program has helped me to communicate problems that I encounter in life to the relevant people in my personal and professional lives. Have an open mind. People will surprise you with great ideas if you just sit down and listen.

Year Graduated: 2022

Current Profession: MP before UCCS, Stefanko Construction Supervisor after UCCS


Jessica Bangs

BI Business Administration emphasis on Marketing

BI Business Administration emphasis on Marketing


Story: I enjoyed the BI classes. In my innovation 4010 class, I was put into the leadership role over a group, and it was a great experience to assemble a team and realize I could trust my instincts. In the BI program, you are no longer siloed in class with people thinking the same way as you. There are people from various majors who all think about the course subjects and group work in different ways, which is a great experience to have to prevent there from being only one way of interpreting the task. In my profession, I am in a division that is made up of multiple positions with different skill sets, and the knowledge I gained from my innovation courses helped me to work well with these other positions. 

Another thing that the BI does well is starting conversations in an interview. Interviewers are curious when they see the BI degree among the BA and BS degrees in the list of resumes, and because of this, the BI stands out. If you are in a stack of resumes and you have a BI on your resume rather than a BS, it sets you apart and makes you more interesting. The lessons that I took from the BI are why I was put into this highly ethical position. From the outside, the BI program can look intimidating since it is only offered by UCCS, but I am very glad that I stuck through the program. Looking back to when I joined the BI program, I would not change a thing.

Year Graduated: 2020

Current Profession: Marketing and Communications Administrator


Kurt Bruck

BI Computer Science

​BI computer science


Story: I enrolled in the BI program while exploring what the CU system had to offer. I had read about it online and decided that it sounded interesting, so I traveled to the UCCS campus and got to talk with the BI professors. Talking to the professors, combined with the gorgeous views of UCCS, sealed the deal for me. The people in charge of the BI program were the reason that I stayed with the BI program. They added a human aspect to the academics. The BI program taught me how to take everything that I had learned and apply it effectively to solve problems. The people in the program are present, and they are there to support you and connect you to resources and people. 

During my time in the BI program, my professors made all the difference. Dr. Stiles, my innovation course instructor, taught me about empathy. I had missed my final presentation for her course and decided to stop attending. Dr. Stiles reached out to me to find out what had happened and when she discovered that I had done the work, instead of failing me, she took me on a walk to find out who I was, and she gave me a chance to improve my grade. That lesson in empathy still sticks with me to this day. 

Education is not just the information that can be read in a book. It is the humans that are running the program and guiding you that help to build essential cooperation and teamwork skills. The Innovation classes were a blast, and I enjoyed building stuff for real-world clients. The BI experience is very different from the normal academic experience because it provides you with real-world experience that is very beneficial after graduation.

Year Graduated: 2017

Current Profession: Senior Product Engineer at Build360


Jason Barney

BI Computer Science

​BI computer science


Story: I enrolled in the BI program for computer science after enjoying a game design course and deciding to major in computer science. Coding video games introduced me to the world of computer coding, and that is what drove me toward the computer science degree. When researching the computer science degree, I realized I would enjoy the course work more by joining the BI program for computer science, and that drew my attention to the BI over the BS. The BI program included real-world experience working with clients and teams within a set project period, and that was appealing to me. 

The cross-discipline helped me experience different perspectives from people in differing BI majors. The cross-discipline is like a minor under the BI major, in which a BI student chooses from one of the cross cores to expand their knowledge and complement the knowledge gained from the major. Using Microsoft teams was the biggest highlight for me. The Microsoft Teams courses were very helpful in preparing me for the real world, where work environments can be remote or hybrid. In interviews following my graduation from the BI program, the BI helped me to stand out from the other applicants. After the BI program, I was able to describe my leadership ability based on projects that I had worked on. It taught me how to step up in my work environment, how to interview well, and how to put myself out there for new opportunities within my career. I can bring up my degree often, and it is always an engaging experience. The BI program helps me in my day-to-day life, both personally and professionally.

Year Graduated: 2021

Current Profession: Progressive Insurance IT App programmer associate


Terra Ray

BI Game Design and Development

BI Game Design and Development


Story: The Bachelor of Innovation (or BI) in Game Design at UCCS was the program that caught my eye. There are a lot of Game Design programs around the country, but since I was living in Colorado at the time, I decided to check out UCCS. When I visited the campus, what helped me choose UCCS was my experience with the professors. At the time, my parents were still unsure of the skills and potential of Game Design, but during the visit, the BI professors were excellent at explaining the skills we would be learning and how Game Design was a respectable and good job. 

One of my best experiences at UCCS was during the Global Game Jam held on campus. With a few friends, we created a card game, and one of the professors at the BI had the opportunity to play our game. He loved the game and pushed us to take the game to the next level and start selling. Luckily, we had just recently finished a Business Law class that was a part of the BI and had the knowledge and skills to create our LLC. We also had access to the BI professors for help and guidance to turn our small game project into an internationally selling card game using Kickstarter! 

To go along with the games I created, I picked up a lot of valuable lessons from the BI. In the Teams classes, you not only get real-world experience working for a real-world company or project. But also get to interact and work with people of different disciplines, backgrounds, and skills, all working towards this shared goal. Learning to bridge the gap between their understanding and my own is a skill I use every day in my current job as a Producer in the games industry. I've also found that having the Bachelor of Innovation on your resume is a great conversation starter for jobs. When most hiring managers see it, they will ask you about what the BI is, and you get to tell them all the work experience and project experience that has helped you look more attractive as an applicant. 

Coming out of the BI, I have become a more well-rounded person. It helped me to talk to a wide variety of people and work on the parts of myself that made me better. For incoming BI students, my biggest piece of advice is to make friends and connections with both other students but also your professors. Having a large breadth of connections to lean on with real project experience not only helps you to survive but; is also how the work world itself functions once you're out of school. That kind of experience is invaluable to get while you're in a safe learning environment like UCCS.

Year Graduated: 2015

Current Profession: Producer at Riot games working as a producer for League of Legends


Kiley Rush

BI in Inclusive Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education


Story: I started at Pikes Peak community college, but I had taken a look at the Bachelor of Innovation in Inclusive Early Childhood Education and realized that there was a great transfer program available to me. I had a dream of starting my preschool, and through the BI, I was able to take classes in entrepreneurship, innovation, and business law classes. From those classes, I was able to get the skills necessary to start my own business. 

One of the moments I remember most in the BI was the business law class with Dr. Lewis. He was able to show me all of the things I would need to know to have a business. Not only that, but he was able to help provide me with the tools needed to protect me and my business in the real world. Another thing that was a positive experience for me was the Teams classes. During my time in my education classes, I didn't have the opportunity to explore the business side of teaching. Not only that, but the classes give you the skills to learn how to manage people and work in a team environment.

The biggest thing I noticed going into the real world was that teachers who weren't in the program struggled with inclusive education. The foundations you need to differentiate kids in the classroom are critical, but because I went through the BI, I had that foundation built already and could be inclusive and utilize innovation in the classroom. Not only that, but the BI helped me to be a more confident person and lead all different aspects of my life. At first, I doubted the BI, but after experiencing life in the real world, the BI has helped far more than I could have known at first.

Year Graduated: 2021

Current Profession: Ruth Washburn Cooperative Nursery School