With help from alumni, Jeremy Woo-Sam ‘87 and Jeff Zamora ‘88, and the UCR Foundation Board of Trustees Student Support Match Challenge, the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering launched “Engineers for Good (EFG),” earlier this year. EFG provides students with an opportunity to help an international non-profit organization with a limited information technology (IT) budget, by using their software programming and design skills to create a technology solution aligned with the organization’s needs and goals.
When speaking about why they spearheaded this initiative, Woo-Sam and Zamora hope to “mentor [students] through the entire software development lifecycle from requirements elicitation to provisioning into production environments,” according to Woo-Sam. Students in EFG not only gain mentorship from BCOE alumni, but also gain real-world experience in product development and customer communication, enhancing their professional skills, all while using their technical skills for a good cause.
Currently, three BCOE computer science students, Sebastian Garcia, Vinz Angelo Madrigal, and Ellen Yim, are a part of EFG and are working with Mutts Anonymous Dog Rescue and Adoption (MADRA), a non-profit dog shelter in Ireland. They are using low to no-coding tools such as Microsoft Power Platform and Azure DevOps in order to transition MADRA’s paper based logging system to an electronic format. These documents are essential for tracking a dog’s health, enrichment, and training process, in order to help them rehabilitate or be rehomed. Woo-Sam says that using a low to no-code solution allows “the team to focus on all parts of the development lifecycle as opposed to just on the technology.”
Vinz Angelo Madrigal, a second-year from Corona, CA, said that he has “learned a great amount just [by] listening to how Woo-Sam and Zamora break down user stories and how they interact with our client. They showed me the level of professionalism I should bring in my daily work once I'm out in the real world.”
Another student participant, Sebastian Garcia, a fourth-year from Perris, CA, said that he learned about the “life cycle and preparation [required] for a project like this,” which is something that he says he never previously thought much of, but now appreciates its importance.
In terms of future plans, by the end of the spring academic quarter, Woo-Sam says that EFG “would like to have a working solution for the customer that allows them to use the software end to end - Tablet application for data entry, middle tier synchronization of data through web services, and daily reports for the nonprofit volunteers. Not only will the nonprofit have a working program, but the students will have gained invaluable experience in product development.”