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Connecting Communities

A student sitting at a table alone while working on a computer.

Speech-Language Pathology graduate student Lydia Patten develops an interactive database to help other College of Health Professions (CHP) students locate community service and clinical opportunities across Michigan. The COVID-19 pandemic created both a greater need for service and an obstacle for students to participate in these service activities. Patten’s project bridges these areas linking students looking for service activities with organizations looking for help.

Patten created the database through Google MyMaps, a digital map that allows users to input data into locations called “pins.” She interviewed CHP professors and related student organization leaders to learn about their service connections in Michigan communities and compiled a list of various service agencies, hospitals, schools, and other organizations. Patten collected data about each service location’s address, website, surrounding community’s website, and U.S. Census information about the surrounding community, which she added to the pins on the Google MyMaps database. With her tool, CHP students can select a pin on the map and see a complete picture of the service organizations and their surrounding community.

Service activities play a vital role in students’ academic development, providing them with the opportunity to gain experience, network, and broaden career paths. Patten’s project not only connects students to service activities but also to learning and growth. “I hope that students feel less overwhelmed as they look for service and clinical opportunities and become informed about the many career-relevant opportunities that exist in our region,” Patten shared. “Beyond student needs, I hope the project encourages more people to give back to the community in a time when it is needed more than ever.”

At CMU We Do Research, We Do Real World

Story by ORGS intern Brittney Rudat

June 2021