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Summer 2022

STUDENT STORIES

Cecilia Mendoza, IS '23

During my TCinGC Summer, I redesigned the Palau Ministry of Health and Human Services website using a content management system that made it easy to create and edit the site in a user-friendly manner. For documentation, I created a general guide that described the pages that made up the new website. I also developed a technical manual that provided step-by-step instructions to edit the site. My work made a difference because it laid out the framework for the organization's soon to be launched website.

 

The most rewarding part of my experience was immersing myself in the Palauan culture. This meant having conversations with the people around me and listening to their stories. This allowed me to truly build a personal connection with those around me.

I was inspired by my community partner because they were dedicated to working collectively to help out the community. Additionally, I was inspired by this because throughout my time at CMU the work that I have done has been focused on giving back to the community that I am a part of.

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Jonathan Nottingham, IS '23

During my TCinGC Summer 2022 project, I submitted an extensive framework to the Ministry of Human Resources, Culture, Tourism, and Development for implementing a new permit management system. A large challenge the ministry had been dealing with was their inefficient permit process, which was an entirely manual process that often forced employees to physically collect information, documents, and signatures from other offices around the island. The plans to implement a software alternative would completely digitize this system, allowing the ministry to bypass the many unnecessary steps in the process and complete permits solely online.

My experience and academic background allowed me to diagnose challenges and propose solutions that the ministry had not been aware of. Additionally, there was no specific task force within the Ministry to confront this problem, so while the Ministry was aware of the problem, it was good to have a person solely dedicated to this issue to really drive the mission.

I think I was surprised at how much I enjoyed living on the island. I was expecting to have to have an adjustment period to get used to the vast differences in everyday life in Palau relative to America, but I honestly felt comfortable and at home from the first day I was there. This made me begin to more seriously entertain the idea of living abroad at some point in my life, and while I intend to have a career in America first, I could absolutely see myself living in an environment similar to Palau's at some point a bit later down the line.

Sean Tavares,  MSP '23

During the summer of 2022, I created Excel templates that visualized data throughout each month and year for the Ministry of Justice. These visuals are used to report trends and gain funding for the ministry. I feel that my work made a difference because of the response from employees within the Ministry. In particular, I believe that I was able to show employees that it is possible to use the data that is already captured in order to generate statistics regarding crime in Palau.

Being able to learn about others' cultures and lifestyles was by far the best part of the experience. I always cherish being able to see the world through a new lens. I also gained an understanding of what life is like on a small island on the other side of the world.

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Jimmy Zeng, IS '23

I created school Google accounts (@palauschools.org) for all Palau Ministry of Education (MOE) staff and students. This allowed them to use Gmail professionally, as well as G Suite tools like Drive and Classroom. I also configured mobile device management settings so that school-friendly restrictions will be applied once a student logs in on their tablet with a school account. I'm happy to see staff using their new email accounts and having it work much more smoothly than their old internal mail servers. 

It's incredibly rewarding to see my project being continuously used by hundreds of people. Each day hundreds of emails are being sent & received via the new accounts. I feel confident that my project will continue to be used for a long time.

I think I came away with a better understanding of the consulting process, organizing information in a chaotic setting, and my own consulting weaknesses. I've also gained some appreciation of technical consulting and the work of bringing technology expertise into places without access to them.

Halanna Yuh, ECE '22

My consulting work had 2 main goals:

First, I wanted to reduce the National Development Bank of Palau's (NDBP) manual labor when filling out loan documents for clients. At the end of the project, I was able to reduce the time it takes to fill out a set of loan documents from up to 2 hours to less than 1 minuteI achieved this by building a custom application that autofills loan documents with a few simple clicks. Before leaving, I trained 2 employees on how to configure the application to support additional documents so that once the documents are fully configured, all employees can use the application.

Second, I was able to reduce the time taken to generate NDBP's monthly lending report. My solution involved improving the way NDBP stores its client information as its current lending report relies on pulling client information from multiple sources. I have provided NDBP with a specification document on how to implement a better way to store client information by migrating client data out of Excel spreadsheets into a database system. The goal of the specification document is to set the foundation for any future efforts to reduce the time taken to generate a lending report.

During my time there, I learned that I valued building personal connections with all employees working at my community partner. I was invested in learning things about Palauan culture like how to say certain things in Palauan, and they seemed to find great joy in teaching me as well!

Looking back, I gained insight on the skills needed to be a successful technology consultant. Building the technology is one aspect of a successful solution, but what is equally important is taking steps to ensure that the solution is sustainable. I also gained skills in evaluating which solution among multiple ones will best suit the client's needs. Ultimately, I gained a deep appreciation for a culture that is different from what I am familiar with.

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Premices Irakoze, Qatar IS '23

During my project, we managed to find a good Learning Management System (LMS) which is cost effective to the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) in Rwanda. This will help teachers to prepare class materials for students and also allow students to have access to those materials. It will also help the school to generate report cards as well as certificates for students. The LMS will help the school to be more efficient and give students a consistent learning environment. I believe that we have contributed to ASYV's vision of giving formal education to vulnerable youth while also contributing to ASYV's goal of being more digitized with a centralized system that will help students to have easy access to learning materials.

Through meeting the frequent visitors to ASYV, I extended my personal set of connections in Rwanda. Interacting with students and learning how they would benefit from the learning management system was truly a fulfilling experience.

Brittany Redmond,  MISM '23

During my consulting project, the Social Security Administration of Palau (SSA) requested an online means of making contributions to social security. I analyzed several approaches and settled on a form builder as the most sustainable outcome. I built the form builder and trained the staff to use it in order to set the foundation for future uses.

Outside of work, the people were all very kind and welcoming. I enjoyed any chance I could take to participate in activities. Overall, I gained invaluable memories and experience working in a foreign context.

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Rafay Khan, Qatar IS '23

During my TCinGC project, I designed web pages that showcase protected areas data for Palauan students, environmentalists and academics. The purpose of the project was to improve public access to Palau Conservation Society's data on protected areas.

The most rewarding part of my experience was working on a solution that will have an impact on not only students' academic journey's but will help PCS and policymakers better inform their policies surrounding Palau's protected areas.

I was inspired by the resolve and dedication the community partner has for Palau's environment and ecosystem. This was not only reflected in the projects the organization carried out but by the vast amounts of data they have collected on Palau's protected areas, serving as the country's only conservation organization.

Malak Alseaf, Qatar IS '23

During my TCinGC project, I worked with the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village. Their school system, which was originally accessed through several digital points, was unified into one access point through a new interface, saving the employees time and effort. Through this, I allowed stakeholders to view analytical data and help them make their decisions accordingly.

Agahozo Shalom Youth Village is a place where the youth are protected and inspired and I believe more places in the world can make use of their model and way of life. Through this experience, I was able to gain crucial on the field experience in technological information systems, lifelong friends, and valuable life lessons.