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Press Release: Pace University Students Compete in Non-Profit Web Design Class


Press Release: Pace University Students Compete in Non-Profit Web Design Class

Final web designs help non-profits fulfill their community missions

Six teams of Pace University students competed this week to benefit three Westchester non-profit organizations as part of a unique course that combines web development skills with community service.

The course was developed and is taught by Pauline Mosley, DPS, a professor of Information Technology at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, and it is focused on designing websites to help non-profits better serve their communities. The class, started in 2004, has designed more than 50 websites for schools, arts organizations, government and other non-profits that provide important services to their communities.

Mosley said this semester’s class did an extraordinary job capturing the essence, vision and mission of each non-profit.

“For the students to be able to program these websites to have the functionality for donations is critical for these non-for-profits, not only in terms of surviving and sustaining the next couple of years, but also thriving and being competitive long term,” she said.

Students from Pace’s CIS 102W Web Design for Non-Profit Organizations presented their final designs on December 10 to the non-profit clients they had been working with for the past 10 weeks. This year, the three participating not-for-profit organizations were G.O.O.D. for Girls, Inc. in Tarrytown, The Family Resource Center in Peekskill and The Westchester Public/Private Partnership for Aging Services.

Each organization was referred to Mosley’s course at Pace by Mary Ann Luna, VP for Community Alliances at the United Way of Westchester and Putnam. Luna said the collaboration between Pace University students and local non-profits is an excellent way to give the students real life experience. “Not only do the teams learn about the non-profits and what they are doing in the community, but also integrate the skills that they are learning into something that is such an amazing provision of service - it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Joanna Plakopitas, a Pace team leader and resident of Eastchester, said she enjoyed working with The Westchester Public/Private Partnership for Aging Services to organize their website. “Putting everything clearly in one place is vital for both the senior citizens who depend on these services as well as those partaking in caring for Westchester’s senior community.”

Colette Phipps, Program Coordinator for Research and Development for the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services which runs the website, said she has had a longstanding relationship with Mosley’s class, which had developed the department’s first website.

“Throughout the years this program has been an invaluable resource for community-based organizations like ours,’’ Phipps said.

Mosley said that the course was in keeping with Pace’s philosophy of preparing students for their careers with real-world experience. In addition to learning technical skills like HTML coding, students learn about team work, communication and project management all while working with real clients.

“As opposed to creating a website that is hypothetical, here students are getting to see first-hand best practices,’’ she said. “These are not things that I could not teach them if I was teaching them a traditional curriculum.”

She added that the course can also provide a pathway to employment as in some cases clients have hired students as consultants to continue work on the websites.

Mosley said that she is looking for additional funding from outside sources to help expand the program and help non-profits after the course ends. “We have a unique model here that is of benefit to students and non-profits.”

Ojonugwa ‘Victory’ Oji, another Pace project leader and resident of Mount Vernon, said he had fun competing, and was especially appreciative of the skills he learned in Professor Mosley’s class. Oji’s team of five students was among winners of the competition. Their website was chosen by the Westchester Public/Private Partnership for Aging Services as the one that that captured their mission, vision, and essence the best.

The other winning project leaders were Xio Chen with the winning website for Good for Girls and Stephen Lasko for The Family Resource Center of Peekskill.

Having to interact with clients, negotiate a product and deal with the stress of having a project completed on time and according the clients’ needs, is a valuable skill that Oji said he will take away as he enters the workforce. “Above all, I am grateful and thankful because - for us students - it wasn’t about winning but learning.”

About Pace University: Since 1906, Pace has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in Lower Manhattan and Westchester County, NY, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. A 2017 study by the Equality of Opportunity Project ranks Pace University first in the nation among four-year private institutions for upward economic mobility.

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