Student consulting group to help area businesses address challenges

MONACA, Pa. — Employees of the non-profit adoption and foster care agency Adoption Connection PA know about all there is to know about the process, legal issues and emotional journey of creating a family.

What they could use some help with is capitalizing on the sophisticated suite of software loaded onto each of their computers.

Enter Penn State Beaver.

For months, campus administrators have been working with regional partners in government and industry to establish an innovation hub that would help to drive the local economy and support entrepreneurship. The campus was just awarded a $50,000 grant to further those efforts.

But while the opening of a state-of-the-art innovation hub is still years away, Beaver Information Sciences and Technology Instructor Ashu Kumar has already established the hub's first off shoot — an advisory group that will serve as consultants to area businesses and non-profits, identifying their specific problems and challenges and connecting them with faculty and students who may be able to provide solutions.

Adoption Connection PA is the group's first client.

Senior IST majors Brad Azich and Ben Detrick are each earning a one-credit internship through the campus this spring as they optimize Office 360 for Adoption Connection and teach employees how to manage the software.

It's a win for Adoption Connection, which lacks the funds for an in-house information technology specialist, and invaluable for the students, who have a wealth of knowledge and energy for the topic, but lack applied experience.

"The group helps to bridge that gap between experience and enthusiasm," Kumar said.

The advisory group is currently operating out of the Beaver County Chamber of Commerce offices in Beaver. Students looking to join the consulting group or businesses hoping to learn more about its services can contact Ashu Kumar at [email protected] or 724-773-3894.


April Johnston

Public Relations Director, Penn State Beaver

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