Mount Vernon Nazarene University: Life Changing

Computer Science


Service

In January 2001, members of the MVNU Computer Science Department participated in the course entitled "Seminar in International Development." The CS team, lead by Dr. Jim Skon, computer science professor, built and installed a 40-node wireless network at the Kudjip Nazarene mission hospital in the Western Highland Plains of Papua New Guinea.

MVNU group in Papua New Guinea

During the 18 months leading up to the trip, students in Dr. Skon's Software Engineering course met with Dr. Jim Radcliff, the chief surgeon at the Nazarene hospital and MVNU alumnus, to design a database system to manage the inpatient records for the 100-bed hospital. During the summer prior to the trip, Greg Reynolds, then a computer science junior at MVNC, was funded through grant money to implement the database system. The resulting client/server system, written in C++, used a web-based interface to allow a high level of client portability. The database itself resided on a Linux server using the PostgreSQL database software.

Shannon Rice, center, was part of one of the MVNU teams in Papua New GuineaOn January 2, 2001, 17 students departed for PNG with 11 computers, six network hubs, thousands of network cables and five wireless bridges and antennas. Students worked to internally network five separate buildings with Ethernet (including the 30 existing computers). Then the five buildings were linked via wireless bridges. The Linux server, in the main hospital building, was set up as a file server, and e-mail server, and a PPP dialup server (for access from mission homes), in addition to its use as the database server. Students worked during the last week to train hospital personnel on system use and maintenance.

Dr. Jim Radcliffe, MVNU class of 1976, left at work in Papua New Guinea Photo of Papua New Guinean children

Students also experienced many church, sightseeing, and cultural events, including a traditional outdoor feast, a hike up into the rain-forested mountains, and a traditional festival. Several daring pre-medical students observed and even assisted in surgery!

 
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