South Hills Community News Release
ALTOONA, PA — Information Technology (IT) students from the Altoona Campus of South Hills School of Business & Technology have partnered with Link Computer Corporation to improve technology for the AMBUCS - Altoona Chapter. AMBUCS (American Business Clubs) is a national organization that serves children, teens, and adults with disabilities by providing therapeutic AmTrykes, educational scholarships for physical therapists, and residential ramp building.
David Aikens, Grant Coordinator for AMBUCS, and Bill Reintgen, Senior Account Manager for Link Computer Corp. and fellow AMBUCS member, were the originators of the project concept. They were looking for an online solution to help them organize about 20 years’ worth of data related to the local AmTryke Therapeutic Tricycle Program. They reached out to the South Hills IT program for help.
Guido Santella, South Hills IT Program Instructor, decided to take on the challenge as a “real-world” project for his students. As part of the curriculum, IT students take a Project Management class to teach them how to organize and run business projects. Guido takes on the role of project manager and helps to ensure the students meet the project goals.
Santella said, “What better way for our students to learn about project management than to work on a real-world project? Essentially we are building an interactive web application (app) to help AMBUCS maintain their data, and we’re providing a convenient tool to make it easier for them to search their records and access information about AmTryke Recipients, the trykes, and to keep notes about replacement parts. We’ll be collaborating with Link Computer Corp. to provide web hosting and server space.
The project team is comprised of:
Santella added, “The students are learning some of the newest technology on the Internet today and learning how it is to be a part of a team that builds production-ready web apps. I have students doing software development, QA, database design, and DevOps."
The app is hosted on AWS, and the team utilized the following:
The students met with AMBUCS and Link Computer Corp. representatives to show the project’s early progress and to determine if the system would meet the organization’s needs.
The students and instructor, Guido Santella, gave a live demonstration of the system and the key features including:
Throughout the meeting, the project team answered questions, gathered feedback, and collected ideas from the representatives from AMBUCS and Link Computer Corp. The group was pleased with the project’s status. David Aikens, AMBUCS Grant Coordinator, said, “I’m really impressed by what the students have been able to accomplish. This system will make a big difference in how we maintain our records and will allow us to provide better service to our recipients. For example, if someone needs a replacement part for a tryke we awarded, we can access the model information quickly and easily with this system and get the part ordered in a more timely manner. I can see the potential for other AMBUCS Chapters to have an interest in using it, too.”
After the meeting, a tour of Link Computer Corp. was provided and the students had an opportunity to meet several of the company’s employees and managers. The students learned about the operation and about job opportunities for which they could apply upon graduation from South Hills.
The AMBUCS representatives invited the students to present the project at an upcoming meeting of AMBUCS Altoona Chapter.
The South Hills project team, along with their instructor, Guido Santella, and South Hills Director of Marketing & Public Relations, Misty Frederick-Ritz, gave an overview of South Hills School of Business & Technology and the IT program and demonstrated the new system to the chapter members at the Park Hills Country Club. The members had an opportunity to ask questions and to give additional feedback on the project.
The project team will make final changes and do final testing to work out any bugs or problems. Next, AMBUCS will provide actual records and recipient data to the team to import into the system. Once the data is imported and tested by AMBUCS, the system will be put into operation.
AMBUCS has awarded hundreds of AmTrykes to deserving recipients through the generosity of the community and the hard work and dedication of the Altoona Chapter members. The smiling faces tell the story! (Recipient photos and permission to publish provided by AMBUCS.)