Sophomore business owner helps bring TEDx to Loyola
Quinn Cosgrave, ’20, was drawn to Loyola for its reputation of a close-knit community and incredibly successful alumni. An information systems major, he is active in Loyola’s Best Buddies Chapter and the Action for Autism Club.
Quinn is the founder of forthcoming Labrador Technologies, a platform that aims to help college students engage with employers early in their academic careers to better align their education with the demands of the workforce. Inversely, employers help shape and influence students’ academic journeys to better serve the needs of their companies, to hire more effectively, and to cut down on training costs. Additionally, Quinn is a member of the marketing and innovation teams at ZERO, a software company that allows individuals to capture, organize, and share critical safety information about their workplaces across teams in real time.
His experience has led the Bethlehem, Pa., native to add his voice to conversations about entrepreneurship and innovation at Loyola University Maryland. Quinn was also the driving force behind the first TEDx Talk at Loyola, and he credits the guidance of Loyola mentors and extraordinary friendships for his opportunity to make his vision come to life on campus.
Two of Quinn’s classmates recently spoke with him for Loyola magazine.
What are some of your favorite things about Loyola?
I think because Loyola is a small school, we as students have more flexibility in what we can do in terms of our majors, course schedules, and the opportunities to brainstorm new ideas. Because of our size, we have the ability to receive a true response from the school and gain support for our ideas.
Is there someone at Loyola who has had an impact on you?
My computer science professor from my first year, Greg Stefanelli. I’ve come to him on several occasions for advice, and he’s always offered really sound help. Whether it’s guiding me with what I want to do academically or navigating some situations with friends, he’s offered his support.
How important to you are Loyola’s Jesuit values to your education, and how do you incorporate them into your daily life and activities on campus?
The Jesuit side of a college education is formative in how we lead our lives at school—and beyond. I believe one of the major themes is caring for the whole self. That’s something Loyola really emphasizes, as well as a core value.
With that in mind, I believe I and a lot of other students really prioritize the well-roundedness of ourselves—whether it’s going to the gym, allocating time to socialize with friends, staying on top of schoolwork, or participating in opportunities like Best Buddies (an organization that enhances the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through friendship), I push myself to do things that fulfill me as a whole person.
Why are TEDx Talks so important to you, and what compelled you to bring an event like this to the Evergreen campus?
TEDx Talks are really cool in the fact that they have the ability to spark interest around things that people otherwise might not have known about or cared about. In my case, there have been many instances where I’ve watched a TEDx Talk on topics ranging from politics in Uganda to space travel in the United States… and I’ve left watching those five- or 10-minute talks with a genuine interest and care for what was being discussed.
I was really excited in thinking we have a lot of great ideas and creativity within our Loyola community. I saw a TEDx Talk as the perfect opportunity to bring those ideas out, share them with others, and get people to think outside of their comfort zone.
For a small school, how did you think this could be possible?
I’m not one to look at things pessimistically, so from the start I was pretty excited and optimistic. I was shocked to find out so many other students were just as excited. When tickets were released via email to the sophomore class, the 40 available seats were sold out in under five minutes! I definitely thought we could pull it off to some degree, but the event is going to be beyond what I expected.
What is the theme of the TEDx Talk, and how did it come to be?
The theme for our TEDx Talk is the Duality of Humankind: the ability of humans to be both creative and destructive at times.
We humans can use our gifts and our abilities for really great things—or for really terrible things. This theme was proposed by my roommate, Thomas O’Brien, ’20, who has also been helping organize the event. We asked the speakers to submit proposals around this idea.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you, and how did you consider entrepreneurship programs when looking for a college?
I think of entrepreneurship as the ability to create something out of nothing and derive an economic or tangible benefit from it. Entrepreneurship was really important to me when I was figuring out which college to choose. Since Loyola didn’t really have a formal “entrepreneurship program,” around this time last year I was heavily considering transferring to schools that have more established programs…
When I really thought about it, I have such great relationships here, and there’s so much to love about Loyola. I figured rather than transfer, it would be more fun to bring those things to Loyola. At that point, I started reaching out to people expressing the kinds of things I would like to see happen. To my surprise, some of those things were already in motion. In the past year, I’ve had the privilege of developing some of these ideas.
How would you describe the value of your Loyola education?
Particularly the liberal arts aspect of Loyola’s education provides students with various perspectives that you can draw upon and overcome different challenges in different ways.
I am a creative idea person; I always have different ideas and projects that I’d like to start. I envision my life beyond Loyola as being a serial entrepreneur. I want to keep identifying problems and coming up with businesses that can solve them. Down the road, I would love think of myself as an investor or philanthropist, trying to contribute more toward social issues and causes that I am passionate about.
What advice would you give to other Loyola students who share their ideas and see them come to fruition?
It all starts with a vision. Whenever I have an idea, I never know where to go from the start. But if you are really passionate about something, you can find the time and the ways to drive yourself to learn more about it. When I started down the path of planning TEDx, I knew nothing about organizing it, but it was something I cared about, so I spent a lot of time learning about it and collaborating with others. For anyone who has something they are really passionate about, there is a way to make it happen.