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Students Unveil Virtual Expo for the York County Chamber of Commerce

Unveiling of Virtual Expo at Penn State York
John F. Suarez, an IST 440W students, discusses the Virtual Expo with members of the York County Chamber of Commerce and other during the unveiling on April 28.
4/30/2010 —

Penn State York students unveiled a Virtual Expo designed for the York County Chamber of Commerce (YCCC) on Wednesday, April 28 at 10:30 a.m. in the Community Room of the Joe and Rosie Ruhl Student Community Center on campus.  Students have worked all semester to develop the Virtual Expo as part of the information sciences and technology integration and problem solving (IST 440W) class taught by Bill Cantor, P.E., instructor in information sciences and technology at Penn State York.  Cantor likes to involve his students in projects with local business and community organizations.  Recent projects have included developing the online registration system for the York Fair and developing a Web site for the York County Area Agency on Aging.

“The community projects have been a great success over the years,” said Cantor.  “The students benefit by working with organizations that need help with a project. The community organizations benefit by receiving high quality solutions at no cost and the students get exposed to the important work that occurs at these organizations.  They get to meet and appreciate the people on the front lines.  These projects help the community while showcasing the students’ abilities for potential employers.” he said.

The initial project began the fall IT project management class (IST 302) under the direction of Samir Shah, Ph.D., instructor in information sciences and technology, with their assignments including preliminary project planning and requirements gathering.  The design, development, testing, and deployment of the Virtual Expo were carried out by the spring semester class of 21 students.  The group has spent many hours reviewing information about the YCCC, meeting with representatives of the organization, and developing a prototype to share with them.  The Virtual Expo will go live to the public at the York County Chamber Business & Technology Expo on May 4 and 5.

The Virtual Expo is not meant to replace the physical Expo but to enhance its current existence and provide a year-round interface.  The scope of the Virtual Expo project is a Web site based on the Expo floor plan and will allow users to search the YCCC’s database for goods and service providers by category.

“The project has exceeded our expectations,” said Robert Jensenius, executive vice president of the York County Chamber of Commerce.  “The students did an outstanding job and as much as it was a learning process for them, it was a great learning experience for us as well.”

Jensenius and other members of the YCCC spent a great deal of time working with students throughout the project sharing information, reviewing prototypes, and offering suggestions.

The Virtual Expo is designed to provide Chamber members with online exhibitor booth space, giving them a cost-effective Web marketing opportunity to reach new customers and generate new leads.  The Virtual Expo will offer exhibitors unlimited exposure, more time to build business to business relationships, contact information on their booth, a photo of their booth, a listing of all exhibitors, a search utility that will allow searching for exhibitors by name and category, and an archive of the previous years’ exhibitors.

In addition to the work students have done on the Virtual Expo, students will have a booth at the Expo in May provided free by the YCCC.  Dave Montez, a senior in information sciences and technology at Penn State York from San Francisco, Ca., is the booth manager. 

“Preparing for the Expo has been rewarding and challenging,” said Montez. “I’ve met many new people and have learned that the IT world is not the only place that is unpredictable.  You have to be able to rapidly adapt to changing circumstances.  This whole project has been an excellent learning experience,” he said.

Students will have the opportunity to network with other business professionals, share the work they accomplished on the Virtual Expo, and promote the information sciences and technology program at Penn State York.

Other students involved in the spring project are Jeffrey M. Anderson, Stewartstown, Pa.; Rohan U. Chitalia, Mumbai, India; Joseph S.Chronister, York, Pa.; Sebastian C. Cortinez, York, Pa.; Tyler S. Croak, York, Pa.; Andre S. Davis, Woodlawn, Md.; Krupali K. Desai, Mumbai, India; Cole N. Feeser, Hanover, Pa.; Baptist W. Hoffmann III, York, Pa.; Alex N. Howard, Windsor, Pa.; Kashmira P. Kundargi, Navi Mumbai, India.; Darby W. Mitchell, Red Lion, Pa.;  Kiran P. Mody, Mumbai, India;   Shantanu G. Rajadhyaksha, Mumbai, India;  Akhil A. Rane, Mumbai, India;  Sayur R. Shah, Mumbai, India; John F.Suarez, York, Pa.; Bhaskar Suryakumar, Mumbai, India; and David M. Watson, Jacobus, Pa.

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