Carnegie Mellon Qatar students bridging the global digital divide
Four students from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), a Qatar Foundation partner university, have been selected as consultants for capacity-building and sustainability projects in Ghana, India and Palau. The projects are part of Technology Consulting in the Global Community (TCinGC), a program that connects students with community organizations that do not have ready access to enough technical expertise.
Joe Mertz is the program director for TCinGC and a teaching professor of information systems at Carnegie Mellon’s Pittsburgh campus, and Julia Poepping is the associate director of partnership development, recruiting global community partners and matching student consultants with them.
“We work with organizations in developing communities that don’t have the resources to implement technological solutions,” said Mertz. “The students serve as consultants: they learn about the organization, the culture, and the challenges, and then they work with the organization to find a solution.”
TCinGC has been connecting students and global communities for nearly 20 years. In 2022, three students from the CMU-Q campus participated. Malak Alseaf and Premices Irakoze traveled to Rwanda where they implemented a learning management system for the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village. Rafay Khan worked for the Palau Conservation Society, an organization that wanted to improve public access to information about protected areas in the country.
“I have always been drawn to the policy and social science aspects of information systems,” said Khan. “This project was a unique opportunity to make a real difference for people in Palau, to improve access to conservation data, and to develop my own skills.”
Alseaf, Irakoze and Khan graduated in May with bachelor of science degrees in information systems.
The next group is the largest group of Qatar campus students who have ever participated in TCinGC at one time. Anupama Anilkumar will work in Palau, Danagul Azimzhanova will work in India, and Massa Coulibaly and Kekeli Tsoekewo will work in Ghana.
Dan Phelps, area head and associate teaching professor for information systems at CMU-Q, is pleased to see so many Qatar campus students selected for TCinGC.
“The CMU-Q information systems program has a close connection with the Pittsburgh campus, and CMU programs like TCinGC offer wonderful opportunities for our students,” said Phelps. “Information systems is ultimately about people, and our students are learning how they can use their knowledge to make people’s lives better and to help communities work together in a peaceful, more sustainable way.”