UI WiderNet Project Searching for Fall Interns, Volunteers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Andrea Murphy (319) 335-2200
August 18, 2003

 

UI WiderNet Project Searching for Fall Interns, Volunteers
 

Finding a job after college is hard enough these days, but without practical, real-world experience, it becomes almost impossible.

Last year, 18 University of Iowa students got that experience as they learned about computer technology while assisting African universities in building their first networks and connections to the internet.

The WiderNet Project, a nonprofit project at the University of Iowa that works to improve digital communication in developing countries, is once again looking for motivated interns and volunteers to help during the upcoming school year.

“My time spent with the Widernet Project was truly a learning experience,” said public relations intern, Andrea Murphy. “I met so many neat people from Africa, got practical experience writing press releases, and even learned how to design and maintain Web pages—something I was never taught while in college.”

The WiderNet Project focuses on the improvement of educational communication systems in Africa by providing faculty and students with access to computers, email, and the Internet. The WiderNet Project is helping bridge the digital gap between Africa and the rest of the world.

“Between setting up network servers, creating Web pages, programming web databases, and compiling tons of educational materials for our African colleagues, our interns and volunteers get a wealth of real-world experience,” said Cliff Missen, co-director of the WiderNet Project. “We go out of our way to provide lots of hands-on training.”

WiderNet Project staff is currently working on collecting materials for its digital library project called “The eGranary” which is being distributed and installed in African universities as a practical alternative to the Internet. The WiderNet Project also collects computer and software donations and tests equipment to be shipped to universities in Africa.

Past and present employees of the WiderNet Project have enjoyed their time with the organization and have found the work very rewarding. Intern Kimberly Femling collected 20,000 medical resources for the digital library during her 12-week stay at the WiderNet Project. Work-study student, Michael Schmitz traveled to Nigeria twice to teach programmers there. Intern Patrick Connolly set up wireless networks and voice-over IP equipment, and Canan Ezme designed a Web database to track donations received by the WiderNet Project.

“By interning at WiderNet I've gained lots of experience which will be so useful in the work environment,” said Ezme. “Since I'm currently looking for a job, Widernet is a perfect opportunity for me to improve myself and to include it on my resume as a good experience.”

Areas where help is needed include: IT, Programming, Internet research for digital library content, and publicity. All students with an interest in any of these areas and a passion to help others should apply.

For more information, visit our website at:

http://www.widernet.org/getinvolved/volunteer

Please contact Kim at: kim@widernet.org, or call the WiderNet Project office at 335-2200 if you are interested.