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Summer 2020

        With the many personal, academic and professional challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about, TCinGC was one of the programs that was impacted for summer 2020. While unable to send students to global sites to work in-person, two organizations in Palau, The Ministry of Education and The Bureau of Tourism, were willing to partner with us remotely so that our students could still gain the student consulting experience and develop sustainable technological solutions to help improve the way these organizations function.

        In addition, three students from the Modern Languages department coordinated weekly virtual meetings/activities among the student consultants and global partners to ensure that the students were still able to learn about the cultures that they would typically be immersed in. See below for more details about Summer 2020.


Caitlyn Low '21, Information Systems

This summer I worked with the Ministry of Education in the Republic of Palau. I was tasked with improving the efficiency of their reporting processes for a variety of yearly reports. These reports contain information about things like school report card performance and enrollment statistics. The goal was to cut the time it took to generate a report, down from a couple weeks to a couple days at most. 


I’ve had summer internships every year of college and this internship has been by far my favorite of them all. Technical work isn’t exactly something I love to do, but I felt that the work I did this summer was actually impactful. I know that the MOE appreciates the work I’ve done and is going to actually use it. And while the work itself is important, my favorite part was getting to talk to Edwel, our community partner. He is awesome and I have loved hearing about his life and the lives of the MOE staff we get the chance to talk to every week. It would have been so much fun to be physically there and I’m sad that I’m not, but I also wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. Click here to learn more. 


Abhi Devarapalli '22, Information Systems

This summer I worked with the Palau Bureau of Tourism as part of the TCinGC program. The Palau Bureau of Tourism works to ensure good governance of Palau’s tourism industry through working with tour operators and boat operators in Palau. One of their key responsibilities is to register every operator in the country. My project for this summer was to improve this registration process by creating an application to make it easier for the BOT to record and retrieve operator information. The application aims to reduce the amount of time spent on registration for both the Bureau and operators.


This experience has been really enjoyable and rewarding. Through my interactions with members of the Bureau I could really tell that the work I was doing would be truly impactful for the organization. This really pushed me to put in my best work. Although I missed out on the experience of visiting Palau this summer, the cultural exchange program took me a step closer to the country as I was able to meet and learn about the Palau culture from their locals. The conversations I had with the director of the Bureau of Tourism, Kevin, also gave me insights into the history of the country. Click here to learn more.

Vrinda Gupta '20, Information Systems

Over the past 10 weeks, I worked with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Palau. My main task was to rebuild their student information system and architect their data. The goal was to create a system that minimized data entry errors and allowed school staff to view student information and grades easily.


This year’s program was especially unique because travel was limited and we could not be in Palau. Even so, I am so happy that I had this experience because I had the opportunity to meet and learn about the amazing people of Palau. One of my favorite parts was hearing stories about Palau and life in Palau from my community partner, Edwel. Between sharing stories and working on an impactful project, my internship through TCinGC was easily the best internship I’ve had! Click here to learn more.


Cultural Exchange

How we Made an Impact and Found New Friends 13 Hours and a Pandemic Away

On March 12th when it became inevitable that Covid-19 would require us to cancel the 2020 TCinGC program we sadly notified 50 student applicants and the seventeen global partner contacts we had been working with on 15 unique project opportunities to let them know the disappointing news. 

Then, on April 17th a graduating IS senior wrote to ask whether we could do the program remotely.  We reached out to our long-time global community partner Edwel Ongrung with Palau Ministry of Education (MOE) and to Modern Languages Professors, Sebastian Dubreil and Stephan Caspar, and by the first week in May we were busy planning the first ever virtual program for TCinGC with a culture exchange element! 

Over the summer, the students met weekly with MOE staff and each week pursued a different topic sharing cultural norms.  One highlight was a cooking demonstration showing how to prepare beldakl, traditional Palauan soup.  We shared our favorite sports, music, books and movies and we wrapped up by saying, “Kom kmal mesaul eh ma uriul” or “thank you for your time, until we meet again” to our new friends in Palau.  You can read more here.

Core Team Members from CMU


Julia Poepping


Sebastien Dubreil


Stephan Caspar

Core Student Team Members from CMU


Rachael Johnson


Angie Jolicoeur


Deborah Blank

Core Team Members from Palau


Edwel Ongrung


Pillar Ngiraswei


Delina Kebekol


Jay Watanabe


Linda Ngotel

During this exchange meeting, everyone was asked to bring an item that reminds them of home, something blue or yellow, and a mystery item that others would have to guess what the item is and what it is used for. Everyone shared their items and discussed their significance.

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This is a cooking video demonstration where core members of the Palau team described and showed some of the different ways to cook fish.

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The final Zoom exchange meeting where everyone said their goodbyes (mechikung in Palauan). This meeting included the core team members from CMU, the core team members from Palau, and one of the student consultants.

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During this exchange meeting, everyone was asked to bring an item that reminds them of home, something blue or yellow, and a mystery item that others would have to guess what the item is and what it is used for. Everyone shared their items and discussed their significance.

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