INI Graduate Makes Plans to Assist a Ghanaian University

May 09, 2008

While many INI graduates begin jobs in fast-paced technology environments this summer, MSISTM student Adrienne White will be making a temporary home in the West African country of Ghana, where she and a Heinz School student will work to develop a student records management system for Ashesi University. Adrienne's project is a part of TechBridgeWorld, a program whose mission is to use technology to help developing nations find sustainable solutions to whatever problems they are facing.

"It's not a typical Carnegie Mellon program where the focus is to be always cutting edge and innovative," said Adrienne. "TechBridgeWorld has a global perspective that says, 'OK, let's not use technology to intimidate this community; let's use it to help them in whatever way they see fit.'"

Ashesi University requested a secure student records management system (SRMS) to assist staff, faculty and students. The system would give the university the functionality of admitting students, registering for classes, tracking student status and performance, recording grades and accessing transcripts.

The project presents Adrienne with two big challenges: a lack of Internet connectivity in Africa and the young age of Ashesi University, which was founded only six years ago. Before Adrienne even begins to set up the system, her first goal will be to determine whether the SRMS is the university's best option.

Adrienne presented a poster on the project on May 7 at Meeting of the Minds, Carnegie Mellon's annual research symposium. She will spend her summer in Ghana, from late May until late August, before she returns to the United States to begin a position at the Department of Defense.

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