This summer, I’m working as a Mentoring in Technology intern at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle (BBBST). While I’m not planning on pursuing a career in information technology, I was deeply influenced by an IT camp when I was in middle school and I want to give back through my DukeEngage experience. There are 3 projects that I’m working on this summer. My primary responsibility is to develop 2 summer computer classes for all the kids who are either enrolled or waitlisted in the BBBST program. The beginner class, consisted of 8 to 11-year olds, is learning about word processing and presentations. The intermediate class, consists of 12 to 14-year olds, is learning about web and graphics design. Each session is 2 weeks long and the classes are held 3 times a week. I just finished teaching the first session of classes last week. So far, the kids enjoyed the classes and the levels of difficulty is fairly appropriate for each age group.
My second project involves working with a web developer from Denver, Colorado and training the BBBST staff members to communicate through a private social network (PSN) site. Since BBBST currently has three offices (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill), ineffective communication can be a problem. To solve this problem, the organization has implemented 2 solutions. First, all 3 offices will merge into a central office in Morrisville, NC. Second, staff is strongly encouraged to use the PSN to share documents and communicate with mentors. Currently, less than 40% of the PSN users are producers, the rest are consumers. The goal of the PSN is demonstrate the benefits of online communication, including: electronic archive, access control, and centralized database.
The third project that I’m helping with is the Big Give Discount Card. Occasionally, Bigs (adult mentors) have to spend money when they are spending time with their Littles (mentees). In order to reduce the cost, BBBST is looking for businesses that would offer discounts to Bigs and Littles. Since there isn’t a full time marketing staff that is in charge of the project, this project is mainly done by interns and volunteers. I will be working with one of the members of the Volunteer Resource Committee to build partnerships with local restaurants and recreational activity centers.
Overall, I like the variety of projects that I was assigned to work on. I hope my projects will increase the awareness of information technology in Durham among children and adults.