Student Capstone projects support community organizations

Written: June 5, 2020
Last Updated: June 5, 2020

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A collage of headshots of CIS students

WASHINGTON, PA (June 5, 2020)—When the world went remote due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor of Computing and Information Studies (CIS) Charles Hannon, Ph.D., faced a particular challenge in adapting the capstone course for CIS majors.

The class, called Service Learning Project Management, connects students with local non-profit organizations so they gain experience working for a client. Each year, the department puts out a call for organizations in need of technology services and matches the students completing the capstone course with a different community partner.

This semester, student groups worked with WashPa Outdoors, Domestic Violence Services of Southwestern PA (DVSSP), Washington County Food Bank, and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Their projects ranged from creating a local bird-finding app to promote conservation education to analyzing information security management.

“We use this course to reinforce and evaluate the CIS program outcomes of being able to research and analyze an I.T. challenge and make a sound recommendation for its solution, implement robust and well-documented I.T. solutions that respond to specific user requirements and that anticipate future needs, work as a productive member of a team to accomplish project goals, and acting ethically in the execution of all these objectives,” Hannon said. “This is our answer to the question, what can a student do if they complete the CIS major? When students give their final presentations, they are specifically asked to address how they demonstrated these outcomes in the course of working on their projects.”

The projects were a welcome experience for students, who enjoyed this transition into the professional world.

“It was incredible! Everyone I met was so nice and helpful and passionate about what they did,” said Kevin Bergen ’20, a member of the team working with DVSSP. “The CIS department taught us many things like data science, user experience, and video production that helped us to conduct a needs analysis to understand where our users were having problems and create a deliverable that helped them in every way they needed.”

Want to learn more about the individual projects the students completed? Click on the organization logos below!

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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