Giving IT Back
Community Foundation, Macon
State College Join Forces to Help Hay House and Children's Museum
with Technology Needs
Macon State College and the Community
Foundatoin join forces to provide IT internship opportnities
at the Hay House and the Children's Museum. Pictured are (left
to right) Dr. Bill Elieson, MSC; Manish A. Parikh, Hay House
IT intern; Suzanne Harper, Hay House; Richard Malone, MSC;
Carolyn Raines, Children's Museum; Rene E. Roberts, Children's
Museum IT intern; Lynda Brown, Community Foundation; and Tom
Glennon, Children's Museum.
by Sheron Smith
By Sheron Smith
In a unique partnership, juniors and seniors in Macon State Colleges
bachelor of science program in information technology are helping
the Hay House, Bibb Countys oldest non-profit attraction,
and the Georgia Childrens Museum, one of the newest, improve
their services through the use of IT, thanks to a $35,000 grant
from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia.
The grant, awarded to the Macon State College Foundation, will
provide funding for student IT interns; hardware and software packages
needed by the non-profits; and faculty oversight of the project.
Over time, several Macon State interns will address various technological
needs at the Hay House and Childrens Museum. For the initial
phase of the project, interns will help the two organizations conduct
systems analyses. Specifically, they will review the opportunities
to be explored or problems to be solved through the use of information
technology. They will do this by learning about the organizations
short-term and long-term goals and operating procedures. The interns
will then develop an improved model and see how it will fit into
the current system. They will also build a budget and plan the IT
workforce necessary to carry out the planned system improvements.
At some point they will turn over fulfillment tasks to other IT
professionals but continue to participate as problem-solvers until
the project is completed and the system installed. The rate at which
the project will progress depends on how much work is needed and
the availability of funding.
Other interns will join the project later to work on networks,
write the databases, design web pages and perform other tasks.
For the Childrens Museum, the work will allow the organization
to set up exhibits with interactive DVD video and audio kiosks and
create databases of donors and visitors. For the Hay House, the
project will result in the implementation of a monitoring system
to record and measure temperature, humidity and light levels in
order to see how they impact the structure and art collections inside.
The Hay House also wants to create a series of databases to track
visitors, donations and evaluations of educational programs.
This project will accomplish two worthwhile goals,
said Sue B. Chipman, director of Development & Alumni Relations
for Macon State College. First, it will help non-profit organizations
ability to deliver services through the improved use of information
technology. Secondly, it will provide quality-learning experiences
for Macon State College IT students. Its definitely a win-win
situation for everybody involved.
Ray Caraway, president of the Community Foundation, said the project
fits in perfectly with the organizations desire to be more
proactive in grant making.
Our grants committee has been impressed with MSC and, particularly,
its IT program, he said. We also know from experience
in working with area non-profit organizations that many have less
than adequate computer capabilities. We came up with the idea of
providing financial support for MSC students by funding internships
at local non-profits. To the extent these organizations can modernize
their operations, they should be in a better position to serve their
various constituencies in the future.
Suzanne Harper, Hay House director, said the project will help
a 19th century landmark join the 21st century.
Funds are rarely available for a non-profit to undertake
a project like this, she said. We congratulate Macon
State College and the Community Foundation of Central Georgia for
their vision in planning this project and are pleased to be one
of the first two non-profits to participate.