The Information Systems Applications in the Community Summer Program at Carnegie Mellon University is an exciting and dynamic six week program in software applications development for visiting students nominated from HBCU partner institutions. Students in the program learned how the elements of people, process and technology must be balanced to create solutions to the needs for information and management support in organizations. In addition to enhancing their technical skills, students learned about the importance of teamwork, decision making, leadership and attention to client needs. To put theory into practice, students worked, as a team, with a non-profit or charitable organization in the Pittsburgh community to address a real information systems problem or opportunity. Students saw, first hand, how the "right-sized" application of technology to a problem can make a real difference to an organization.
The Information Systems Program at Carnegie Mellon University selected eight students to participate in a six week program during the summer of 2011. The team was brought together to develop a web-application for the Urban Impact Foundation; a non-profit organization that prides itself in offering enrichment programs to the Northside Pittsburgh Community. Initially, time was spent engaging in a number team building exercises. These exercises strengthened the team and taught us about conflict resolution, overcoming differences in opinion, and seeking to understand before being understood. Our different strengths and weaknesses were quickly established and team roles were chosen based on each individual skill. As the team grew stronger and each person began to develop into their roles the focus began to be on developing the technical skills necessary to complete the project successfully. To ensure these skills were developed, the team also spent valuable man hours completing and participating in various tutorials and lectures regarding the different coding languages and web building applications. Examples of these newly learned disciplines include HTML, Ruby on Rails, SQL, jQuery, elements of design, and Unified Modeling Language.