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Student Experiences

Navigating the Waters

Build a boat out of cardboard. Take a photo next to your favorite street art. Donate blood while wearing vampire teeth. Hike to the closest waterfall.

What do all of these activities have in common? They’re challenges that participants complete at the Cotopaxi Questival, a twenty-four-hour outdoor adventure race.

Emily Sorensen (bottom row, second from left) and Elise Jubeck (bottom row, far right) joined fellow students, faculty, and sponsors to host the 2018 Experience Design Quest.
Emily Sorensen (bottom row, second from left) and Elise Jubeck (bottom row, far right) joined fellow students, faculty, and sponsors to host the 2018 Experience Design Quest.

Just as Questival challenges participants “to shoot for the stars,” therapeutic recreation rising seniors Elise Jubeck and Emily Sorensen are joining Cotopaxi to do the same as they help the outdoor company develop its first-ever adaptive Questival that will take place in New York City in October.

“I am excited to help Cotopaxi because this is a company that I can wholeheartedly support,” Sorensen says. “I love what Cotopaxi does as a brand, and I’m excited to implement the skills I have acquired at BYU Marriott into the business world.”

The special Questival will be part of the No Barriers Summit, an event designed to help those with disabilities join a community that is dedicated to overcoming adversity. As part of the summit, participants are challenged with competing in a Questival that will be adapted to the unique needs of the participants at this event.

As Jubeck and Sorensen worked on an event called the Experience Design Quest (ExDQ) at BYU Marriott, they crossed paths with Seth King, vice president of field marketing for Cotopaxi, and shared with King their interest in creating adaptive events for those with disabilities. King’s team was in the process of working on the adaptive Questival in NYC and asked Jubeck and Sorensen to be a part of it.

The students are working as liaisons between Cotopaxi and No Barriers Summit to make sure the Questival is as inclusive as possible and to ensure it will cater to varying levels of ability for a wide variety of participants.

“Emily and Elise have been helping me to refine the challenge list to make sure there are no barriers that could affect an adaptive athlete,” King says.

Elise Jubeck helps direct participants at ExDQ.
Elise Jubeck helps direct participants at ExDQ.

Because of their desires to help others, Jubeck and Sorensen both felt a draw to the TR major. Growing up as an Air Force kid, Jubeck knew she wanted to pursue a career that would give back to the military community, particularly in relation to veterans.

“I want to do holistic healing, and I would eventually like to give back to the military community by working in the VA system or as a contractor for the military,” Jubeck says.

Because her family bleeds BYU blue, Sorensen always had intentions to attend BYU but wasn’t sure what career path to take. After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Texas, Sorensen knew she wanted to give back to others.

“After meeting with various academic advisors and interviewing people from various colleges on campus, I found TR, and it felt like a good fit,” Sorensen says. “I love people and wanted to find a field that allows me to interact with others on a daily basis.”

The department hired Sorensen and Jubeck as brand ambassadors, utilizing them and other students to promote and raise awareness for TR. Jubeck and Sorensen’s role as brand ambassadors gave them the opportunity to help with ExDQ, which then led to their involvement with Cotopaxi’s No Barriers Questival.

“Working with Cotopaxi for ExDQ was already an amazing opportunity,” Jubeck says. “I am thankful for the chance to work with them again.”

Jubeck and Sorensen will be joining King and other Cotopaxi team members in New York this October for the summit and Questival. In the meantime, they have proven to be an important resource to the company’s team as Cotopaxi reaches new limits in developing an adaptive Questival.

“Elise and Emily have been instrumental in navigating the waters for this event,” King says.