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UCHI shares our reactions to the UC President's Award. Plus, we check in with Dr. Chery and introduce exciting new project in the information technology sector!

Media Made Not Only "Social," but "Socially Conscious:"
A New Project Aims to Empower Students to Map Their City Using Cutting Edge Technologies

Two of UCHI’s tech entrepreneurs, UCHI’s Engineering Section Director, Tyler Shaddix, and UCHI’s Director of Capital Development, Chris Ha, are co-directing a project that hopes to make every inch of Port-au-Prince accessible to the public, using Google Maps’ application programming interface. The goal of this upcoming partnership project, the Center for Information Technology and Entrepreneurship in Development, or “CITED,” is to support the development of information and communication technology (ICT) in Haitian communities by using cutting-edge, student-run data collection methods in order to map local businesses and surrounding geo-spatial data. CITED will utilize mobile phone technology and cloud-based software in the storing and cataloging of data collected by students, and in the long term, this mapping process would provide a platform for visualized socioeconomic analysis of the country and its prospective growth. Professor Tayana Etienne, director of the Université d'Etat d'Haïti’s (UEH) Master degree program in Database and Integration of Systems, explains that, “the CITED project will be a pioneering step, working with Haitian students to contribute to the development of technology and exposing them to work in concrete issues to design the future of the country.”
 
Professor Etienne has led projects with students in UEH’s School of Engineering (Faculté Des Sciences, or FDS) that aim to build leadership talent and provide students with the opportunity to work on projects that solve challenges in their community. Because of this experience and expertise, she was contacted by Dean Janin Jadotte, President of the Council of Directors of the FDS and asked to help to develop this collaboration between UEH and UCHI. All stakeholders involved in this partnership are working to develop innovative platforms for blended learning with a mix of traditional on-site methods and e-learning applications, including an important distance learning aspect of the CITED project.

In addition to its power as a tool to inspire UEH students to develop innovative projects related to ICT development in Haiti, Professor Etienne sees CITED as an opportunity for Haitian students to collaborate with their peers “to reinforce their leadership and technical skills through a mutual exchange of knowledge about the realities of both Haitian and American students.”
 
“Personally, I see this project being a cornerstone of application development within Haiti,” Tyler Shaddix shared with us earlier this month. “We have seen in our own country how computer applications paired with careful analysis can propel development in virtually every aspect of our lives.” Facilitating this kind of technological but socially minded development with the best and brightest young people in Haiti the way CITED proposes will, he says, “achieve worthwhile results for generations to come.”
 
UEH itself has been an integral part of ICT development in Haiti, developing initiatives such as the licensing of ICT at UEH and local private universities, leading the Master Database and Systems Integration (MBDS) Program with the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis since 1999, participating in projects with mobile technologies across industries and assisting in the expansion of the mobile telephone sector. Because of UEH's pre-eminent position in the ICT field, developing a University-based data center is a natural choice for the forefront of the CITED vision. The long-term prospect is for CITED, run and operated by Haitian students, to become Haiti’s first academic technology-venture incubator in partnership with the University of California’s business and engineering schools.

The project team is currently focused on building CITED as a sustainable data platform to leverage information and communication technology application. The Center will be a launch-pad to kick-start a software service industry in Haiti at the intersection of information technology, entrepreneurship, and community development. 



"Good Luck Dr. Chery:"
Checking in with UCSD microbiology lab training program and Dr. Evald Chery

This February, our newsletter featured UCSD's groundbreaking training program designed for Haitian physician, Dr. Evald Chery. Now, months later, Dr. Chery's training is going strong, and we wanted to be sure to give updates on how things are going and also to highlight the support of all those who have helped make his time in San Diego such a wonderful learning experience. We especially want to acknowledge the generosity and kindness of the Nash family, who have taken Dr. Chery into their home and welcomed him to San Diego and to UCHI with open arms and open hearts.

We asked Dr. Sanjay Mehta, who has been a superb mentor and friend to Dr. Chery and all of us over these past five months to give us some updates on the progress of the training project. He wrote: "The success of this project hinged on one individual, Dr. Chery. We attempted to review and teach the theory of microbiology, and then also teach clinical laboratory microbiology and the tools needed to run a clinical microbiology lab in a mere 6 months. That is no small feat for an exceptional individual, and to add on top of that language issues, Dr. Chery has done an amazing job. He has been a sponge as we poured buckets and buckets of information. I know he has the intelligence and gumption to take what he has learned back to Haiti. I only hope we can find him the appropriate resources."

Echoing this praise of Dr. Chery's intelligence and gumption, Wendy Nash shared some fond memories of the great adventures he has had in San Diego. "From going to the beach to walking the dog in his pajamas," she told us, "always wearing his eternal grin." Mrs. Nash also shared a memory from Dr. Chery's trip to New York to visit a friend: "There was some family concerns about how he would negotiate the numerous terminals and gates. Finally I said that he managed to survive one of the worst earthquakes  of our times, I think he will be just fine, and fine he was and has been." 

"We will always remember his winning smile and constantly positive attitude," she wrote us, "Good luck Dr. Chery, your country needs and is lucky to have you."

Now in the last months of his training, Dr. Chery is meeting learning objectives that will address Haiti's shortage of clinical diagnostic skills and he will be working with UCHI to compose new higher education curriculum for Haitian scholars. Additionally, the UEH-UC Collaboration is on the brink of introducing an academically driven, public-private partnership model that will not only provide a practical laboratory setting for Dr. Chery's prospective students but also work towards clinical diagnostic development in Haiti at the local health center level.

More details on Dr. Chery's transfer of knowledge and institutional capacity building, as well as a final evaluation of his work at UCSD will be available in the coming months.

Here at UCHI, we feel lucky to have had Dr. Chery with us for these few months, and lucky to have had the incredible support of Dr. Mehta and the Nash family. Thank you so much for all you have done!

Monthly Spotlight:
Our Award-Winning Chapters!


Earlier this month, UCHI was given the great honor of receiving the University of California President's Award for Outstanding Student Leadership. "The UC Haiti Initiative is an example of a promising practice not only within the UC community, but within the global community," UC President Mark Yudof said at the awards ceremony on May 16th. "Its efforts stand tall in the long, distinguished tradition of public service that defines this university." We are so proud of each and every one of our chapters for all the hard, diligent work they have done to merit such truly humbling recognition.

Although the award was presented to UCHI as a whole, there are four UCHI campus chapters in particular to which we would like to give special recognition. UC Riverside, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Berkeley were each nominated for the President's Award by their own University Chancellors who personally recognized the outstanding campus leadership maintained in these student groups.

Yoori Chung, UC Berkeley chapter director, shared with us that, "it is an incredible honor for the UC Haiti Initiative to receive the nomination by Chancellor Birgeneau who has been incredibly supportive since our very beginning. This award stands as motivation for the Berkeley chapter to work harder and float to these high expectations." She explained also that this significant recognition by the University has the potential to empower and strengthen the partnership between the UC, the State University of Haiti, and "our intricately tied futures." To this, UC Davis chapter director Jessica Jaswal added that the recognition "highlights the collaborative spirit of our system-wide organization. With this award, UCHI will be able to further establish campus wide initiatives."

UCLA chapter director Laya Reddy added: "On behalf of the UC Haiti Initiative at UCLA, I am so honored and humbled that President Yudof selected us for the 2012 President's Award. We look forward to growing on a system-wide level and furthering our investment in capacity building and sustainable development with the unwavering support of the UC system."

And finally, summarizing all our reactions to this great honor, UC Riverside chapter director Mohanned Awadalla said, "this award is a tribute to the hard work and perseverance displayed by our chapter members. All participants of UCHI deserve this award, and I congratulate you all on a successful year."

Take Initiative!

If you're looking for a way to support the effort for sustainable development and public higher education in Haiti (this summer or next school year), please take today to contact the UCHI chapter director at the campus nearest you

Please also visit our new donation page, through UCLA Giving! Your donation will help us bring resources to our Haitian partners; providing opportunity for collaborations and facilitating various projects.

Take a look at our projects, and if you see one that interests you please don't hesitate to contact us or make a donation. 
Copyright © 2012 UC Haiti Initiative, All rights reserved.

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