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Service work in the summer

3:34 PM  Jul 19th, 2017
by Cari Zahn ’18

Just south of the heart of Dayton lies FoodBank, Inc., a non-profit organization placed to relieve hunger within the area. Among the organization’s many volunteers is graduate student Nivedita Penugonda ’18.

Through a partnership between Semester of Service and the Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service (ETHOS), Penugonda has the opportunity to spend the summer volunteering. Working as an application developer, Penugonda has three specific ongoing projects that she will work on throughout the summer.

Using the skills she has gained while pursuing her master’s degree in computer science, Penugonda has been working to develop a mobile application for Android that will assist the organization once their proposed drive thru is set up. In addition to the mobile app, Penugonda is improvising a web application that assists in the verification of key shoppers, and lastly, she is working to making the FoodBank Inc., database more accessible.

Penugonda is no stranger to service work, as she worked in many service groups while at home in India. However, she is particularly excited for this opportunity because it allows her to develop her technical skills. After receiving a piece of mail for this program that advertised a technical immersion, Penugonda decided to go for it.

“I am thoroughly enjoying doing it now,” Penugonda said. “Seriously, it’s God’s grace that I got a wonderful opportunity.”

Penugonda appreciates the opportunity the job is giving her to hone her computer skills on a practical platform where she can work on a real project and face the difficulties in actually implementing it.

In addition to technical experience, Penugonda said she has gained communication skills, knowledge about different communities and cultures, and a deeper understanding for the inner-workings of non-profit organizations.


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