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From left, Charlotte Whiting '24, Thomas Meyers, chief of EMS, Sydney Tran '24, and Madison Monroe '24 review their presentation on data organization for the Oneida County Volunteer Ambulance Corps.
Core to Hamilton’s computer science curriculum is the senior project. It's an opportunity for seniors to apply their problem-solving expertise to real projects, often supporting faculty and offices on campus. This fall, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Sarah Morrison-Smith decided to incorporate ethics and social good into her seminar by having students work with area nonprofits. 

Divyam Karuri ’24 and his group collaborated with the Oneida County History Center to create an application that converts image files of documents into PDF format. The team then used optical character recognition technology to transcribe documents, such as newspapers, into a searchable plain text, a format accessible to the center.

Karuri and his group began by asking their director for public programs about the printmaking process to better understand the task at hand. They took a comprehensive tour of the center, which Karuri reflected on, noting “how difficult it was to look at the information of these newspapers quickly for research, and it [was then that it] dawned on us how impactful and important our program would be to the nonprofit.”

The Kirkland Arts Center (KAC), a Clinton nonprofit dedicated to arts education and advocacy, sought a new database system to manage class registration and payment. Seniors Emily Weinstein, Claire Cutler, and Sebastian Favela worked with the director and program manager to develop an effective system that fit their needs. Weinstein even discovered a personal connection with the program manager, realizing they grew up on the same street in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“This was the first time we coded collaboratively on a long-term project, a vital skill for those of us looking to go into industry.”

The students embraced the project, with the group noting, “This was the first time we coded collaboratively on a long-term project, a vital skill for those of us looking to go into industry, and it was an invaluable experience to work with the Kirkland Arts Center, where they work tirelessly to provide a unique learning experience to the larger community.”  

Seniors Madison Monroe, Sydney Tran, and Charlotte Whiting worked with Oneida County Volunteer Ambulance Corps (COCVAC) to determine hotspots of 911 calls to help them better understand where to devote resources. Speaking on the project’s challenges, the group reported, “Since our client’s requests were pretty open-ended, we had many options and had to do a significant amount of research to determine which software tools best suited these needs. The sheer amount of options was a little daunting at times. Still, with sufficient research and coding, we were able to figure out a project plan that fit their goals.”

Madison Monroe ’24 (left), Charlotte Whiting ’24 (middle), and Sydney Tran ’24 (right).
From left, Madison Monroe ’24, Charlotte Whiting ’24, and Sydney Tran ’24.

They were able to successfully create automatically generated reports to analyze the 911 call data along with an accessible website that allows COCVAC to view the reports in a user-friendly way.

Another project included a collaboration with the Uptown Theatre for Creative Arts. This group — seniors Colin Howe, Will Burstein, and Kai Haesslein — created a check-in website that compiles demographic information for grant proposals and allowed administrators to access data and edit questions.

The groups made sure to produce deliverables that require minimal upkeep and assistance so that their clients can continue to benefit after the students graduate in May. All reported finding it gratifying to collaborate with such hard-working community members and give back to the local area in a unique and tangible way while simultaneously strengthening their coding skills.

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