Fifteen high-achieving Westmont students, working closely with college staff this summer at Westmont Downtown (26 W. Anapamu St.), are solving some of the most daunting challenges confronting the college’s admissions, advancement and information technology departments. Through this unique initiative of the Center for Applied Technology known as CATLab, students code, post, write, network and serve. This summer, CATLab is overhauling the admissions data system, allowing more personalized relations with prospective students and integrating admissions with advancement services.
Last summer, a pilot team of seven students created software for the college’s advancement services, developing add-on applications to Salesforce that dramatically improved the donor relations, donor tracking and fundraising systems.
At the end of every summer, CATLab hosts a tech-focused leadership conference, Enabling Impact. Last year, Westmont students presented a thoughtful and impressive advancement-oriented solution built on the Salesforce platform to higher-education executive attendees from Southern California.
“We wanted a fundraising tool that was actually useful for the fundraisers and not just the back-office people who communicate with donors and keep everything organized,” said Reed Sheard, Westmont chief information officer and vice president for college advancement. “Delivery of the final product was one of the five most impressive moments I’ve witnessed in 20 years of higher education.”
Up to two days a week, students may secure a voluntary or paid internship from a tech company in town, including Appfolio and Outside Open, which provide tangible experience leading to exceptional job-market training.
The students collaborated to create a statement defining their team for the summer: “We design creative solutions to real problems and take ownership of our professional and personal development, empowering others to innovate in their own communities.”