Archive for August 3rd, 2009
Throughout my time with the iSTEP program there were a few themes more prevalent to me than the need for organization. I have never felt like the most organized person in the world. For example, the desk I am working on right now is scattered with hundreds of research papers related to the program and a busted cell-phone with an American flag template. Despite this, the iSTEP program not only taught me how to be organized but just how much good organization can do for you.
Looking past the mess on my desk, the technical leads have ensured me that my work for the past 10 weeks has been organized and clean. Brad, Dan, and Hatem all have their own means of organizing their tasks to be done, and each format has ensured that I keep my own work organized when I am pulled in three directions on an everyday basis. The tech leads all did an admirable job in keeping their projects organized through the many setbacks we faced.
Putting it all together, it is difficult to give an accurate representation of how much I feel we accomplished. I look back at the start of the internship and I cannot believe how much we completed in such a short amount of time. Conversely, as the projects wrap up, I can say how much we could have done with another 10 weeks. It is clear that there is so much more to do and I hope the people involved in Tanzania continue to develop these projects when we depart. But I do believe we have given them a considerable amount of work to get them started.
Consequently, I have learned to accept that there are things that you cannot accomplish. Ideally, I would like to work on these projects for months to come, but there is not enough time or resources to get them to the state I would like before the team leaves Tanzania. This has been an ongoing theme, as repeatedly through the internship we have had to stop and take reality checks and pick out the things that we will not be able to accomplish before the term is over. I have never been the type of person who likes to submit something partially finished. Despite this, I know we have done a lot of good work here and have an excellent start for future development. So we may not accomplish everything I wanted but I guess saving the world by solving world hunger, accomplishing universal peace, and building an In-N-Out Burger in Pittsburgh will have to occur during a different 10-week internship.
Anthony Velázquez was the Technical Floater for iSTEP 2009. Based in Pittsburgh, he provided technical support for all three projects and worked closely with the technical leads. He is a rising senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He works with Development Solutions Organization, a student organization on campus, to raise awareness of global development issues and help connect peers with opportunities. He remains interested in issues revolving around computer science education and the intersection between technology and global development.