Stephanie – Rising Stars 2020–12

Stephanie Adams has one of the most visible workspaces in Colorado Springs. In fact, if you live, work in, or frequently visit our downtown, you’ve probably walked past Stephanie’s lair a dozen times. She’s the site director at UCCS Downtown, a ground floor space on Tejon Street just south of Colorado Avenue. To passersby, it looks like nothing special — just a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, some tables and a few dozen retro-modernist chairs. Is it a classroom, or a meeting space or something else?

Like GOCA downtown, the site was created by a private/public partnership between the university and real estate behemoth Nor’wood. And just as GOCA’s continuing relevance and viability is in the hands of director Daisy McGowan, the new site’s success depends on the entrepreneurial skills of Stephanie Adams.

A Colorado native, Adams is more than up for the job. She graduated from UCCS in 2008, worked for the city for a couple of years and spent seven years at the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado. She’s been in her current position for a year, and is excited by its obvious challenges — even more so as a recent graduate of UCCS’ master’s in public administration program, where she focused on policy and nonprofit management.

“People started by seeing it as a very transactional space — just a place for meetings,” Adams said. “But I saw it as a developing and activating intellectual space, a place that could both host and create events. It’s a neutral meeting ground, a place for classes, an opportunity to learn where you work, and an alumni resource.”

At 3,000 square feet it’s comparatively small, likely the first tentative step downtown for one of the country’s fastest-growing universities. Thanks to Adams, it’s already outgrowing its space.

“We have about 40 hours of programming weekly — people come here to get stuff done!” said Adams. “In 2019, we had 6,500 participants. For example, we had Coffee with the Cops and 85 people came to have coffee and donuts with our cops.”

“Stephanie is an incredible gem in this community,” said Stephannie Finley Fortune, the executive director of UCCS’ Regional Connect. “Her effervescence, wisdom, warmth and solid skills are attributes that put her at next level professionalism and influence.”

“Stephanie is in a league of her own,” agreed Laura Nelson, a former colleague at AASC. “It’s not often you find someone who works hard, cares for others and consistently strives to do more and give back to the community.”