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Computer Science

Computer Science class is taught my Mrs. Taricco. This class is super special, as it is the reason why I am able to create this website in the first place. With Mrs. Taricco's gentle spirit, learning new computer science concepts without any prior experience, becomes fairly simple. In this class, we learn to use different coding styles to create different areas of interest. One example is this website, as we use different formatting and coding domains (HTML and CSS) to create something new out of nothingness. This class continues to teach me the importance of believing in oneself in order to achieve one's goal. It has also taught me to have a spirit of openness to receiving any feedback; no matter what the feedback may be. Scroll to see some projects I have done in this class, other than the very apparent one (this website)!

Line Art

The Line Art lab in computer science was definitely one of the most rewarding experiences I had ever had. Being someone with little to no computer science knowledge, this assignment allowed me to implement new computer science tools, including “for-loops” and “if-else” statements in a fun and achievable way. Not only did this assignment include computer science rules, but it also implemented some math as well, assuring that I could have confidence while doing the assignment. This was an awesome assignment, so feel free to check out the process on the left!

Federal Income Tax

I did not believe my computer science teacher when she said that “computer science does everything.”; however, I could not have been more wrong. This assignment consisted of us having to write code that would calculate an individual's federal income tax based on their marital status and annual income. The reason that this assignment is one of my favorites is that I know that it will come in handy sometime in the future, and how awesome would it be to say “I have a computer science code that can calculate my taxes for me!” I guess my next step would be to create code that will do my taxes for me; however, we will leave wait and see what the future holds!

Apps For Good Project

Problem

Our app aims to address the lack of available apps for connecting volunteers with local organizations. During the COVID pandemic, rates of formal volunteering in all demographics dropped; however, rates of informal volunteering remained steady, indicating peoples’ continued desire to help their communities despite complications such as social distancing and lockdowns (Bureau, 2023). Though the world has now begun recovering from COVID, the pandemic has left a lasting strain on all, with many communities still struggling. Now, more than ever, volunteers are needed to help the world rebuild. Despite the many people and organizations in need, however, it is often difficult for prospective volunteers to discover them, and even more challenging to find volunteer opportunities that fit the volunteers’ availabilities, interests, and skill sets. In a survey of the MAMS community, we found that the most common method of finding volunteer opportunities, used by 48.5% of students, was learning of opportunities through acquaintances. While word of mouth is a valuable way to find volunteer opportunities, such a method limits the number and types of volunteer activities one is exposed to. Additionally, new groups and organizations in need of volunteers may experience difficulty gaining exposure. Difficulty connecting volunteers with organizations persists beyond matching volunteers with organizations: after initial contact, volunteers and their organizations must remain in contact. In some cases, the systems which organizations have in place may be insufficient in providing support for contacting and maintaining contact with their volunteers. For example, the Volgistics Team states that many volunteer organizations struggle in coordinating and scheduling volunteers for larger events (Team, 2022). A lack of communication and miscommunication leads to confusion, frustration, and poor outcomes overall. Thus, it is imperative for organizations to keep each volunteer updated. Similarly, volunteers must have the resources to contact their organizations quickly, such as in the event of a scheduling conflict. Such gaps in resource availability connecting volunteers with organizations must be addressed to ensure the continued support of communities and causes, which has become even more crucial in the wake of the pandemic.

Target Audience

Our app is intended for prospective volunteers and volunteer organizations. In particular, we hope to target those seeking local volunteer opportunities that interest them as well as those wishing to learn more about each organization and opportunity (i.e. time commitment and skill set required). In addition to learning about organizations, volunteers will be able to easily contact ones of interest. The organizations who use our app will be able to promote their causes and events through our organization search feature, thus gaining more volunteers. Our overall goal for the volunteers and organizations who use our app is to connect them to help form deeper connections and compassion between communities. We also aim to improve the well-being of volunteers; it has been shown that volunteering not only benefits the community but the volunteers themselves, improving mental health by 8.54%, physical health by 9.08%, life satisfaction by 7.35%, social well-being by 11.11%, and decreasing depression by 4.30% (Yeung et al., 2017). We hope that by pairing volunteers with organizations and opportunities that they are passionate about, we promote mutual benefit between the community and volunteers.

Solution

Our group created an application that allowed for the bridging of the gap between volunteers and organizations. The app includes many features such a portal allows the user to identify whether they wish to proceed as a volunteer or organization (i.e. organization admin). This leads to two different pages that are specific to their choice. Organizations have a login page in which they specify their information, such as name, fields, lines of work, and contact information. This data is subsequently stored in FireBase. The volunteer login page enables them to specify their interests (corresponding to organization lines of work) and skills, and request access to their general location. This allows them to navigate through the app without an account (forming accounts may be added in the future) while receiving possible volunteering opportunities. Volunteer data is stored in a local MYSQL database. Organizations are be able to create ‘events’. These events serve as opportunities where volunteer-provided support is needed. The organizations are able to specify information such as the event name, location, hours, and volunteer skills recommended/required. The event data is subsequently be tied to the organization’s account and stored in FireBase such that it can be propagated to volunteers. The app’s internal algorithm is be able to take into account user information and event information to create a list of opportunities that best align with the user’s skills and interests, as well as their relative distance apart, while also taking into account which organizations the user worked with previously. Additionally, users have the option to filter through all volunteer opportunities such that they are able to decide which event suits their availability, interests, skills, and current location. These two browsing options allow for the most reliable volunteership as possible, knowing that volunteers would be locationally available and morally aligned with the organization's values.

MVP/Poster