Carnegie Mellon University

Students Serve Non-Profits

12-07-2009

Students Serve Non-Profits

BestOfBatchTeamFifteen student teams in Carnegie Mellon’s Information Systems Application course recently culminated about 9,000 hours of community service when they displayed the semester-long projects they completed for non-profit organizations. The students developed made-to-order software solutions to help non-profits become more efficient in pursuing their missions.

Some the students’ clients were the Best of the Batch Foundation, which was founded by Pittsburgh Steelers’ Quarterback Charlie Batch; the Light of Life Rescue Mission; FamilyTyes; MIWatch; the FBI Cyber Forensics Unit; the International Genealogy and History Database Society; Animal Hero; Blackberry Studio; and the borough of Elizabeth, Pa.

One project by students Meredith Huffsmith, Amritha Prasad, Tom Flavin and Phil Pantalone was the creation of a scheduling and organization system for the Best of the Batch Foundation’s "In the Pocket" event, an annual fundraiser for underprivileged children featuring games such as pool, ping-pong and poker. Participants donate money to play these games against Pittsburgh Steelers.

Another project by students Chris Narburgh, Gautam Vaidyanathan, Sachit Gupta, Dexter Rietman and Kelvin Law was an application to help the Light of Life Rescue Mission monitor and manage mentors and to keep track of their mentoring activities.

“With this application, mentors will be able to sign up online, and record their interactions with clients in an easy-to-use Web interface that automatically sends them monthly reports, which helps assess client progress, and allows for better statistics in grant proposals,” the students wrote in their class report.

“My wish list was very long and the students delivered,” said Brenda Mucci, manager of After-Care and Mentoring for the Light of Life Rescue Mission. “I can’t wait to begin using the new system.”

Randy Weinberg, teaching professor and head of the Information Systems program, said that by working with student teams, the organizations were able to improve their operations without taking money away from their missions. He said the students were able to take their classroom knowledge and apply it in real settings while giving back to the community.

Read about the work of all 15 project teams at http://www.hss.cmu.edu/pressreleases/ISfinalprogram2009.pdf.

In the photo, from left to right, are Latasha Wilson, executive director of the Best of the Batch Foundation, student Meredith Huffsmith, foundation founder Charlie Batch, student Tom Flavin and student Amritha Prasad. Not pictured is student Phil Pantalone. The photo was taken during the Information Systems Applications Senior Project Fair.

Bruce Gerson