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Shanthi Project’s Tech Upgrade: Muhlenberg Capstone Team Donates 20 Laptops

Updated: Jun 6

This spring, Shanthi Project’s IT infrastructure underwent a major transformation, thanks to a team of local students. As the beneficiary of their Capstone project, we received not only a technology roadmap—steering our organization toward strategic growth—but also a generous donation of twenty gently-used laptops. Read on to learn more about the Capstone, this remarkable gift, and the people who made it happen.

What Is the Capstone?

In early 2024, Shanthi Project was contacted by a group of Information Systems Management students in the Muhlenberg College School of Continuing Studies: Fulvia Alderiso, Eric Mushock, Jason Prestosh, and Matthew Rosa. These four, dubbed the Super-20 Team, had just begun their final Capstone project, rounding out a nearly two-year program. The Capstone puts education into practice, asking students to create a roadmap for the technological improvement of a chosen organization. From assessment to implementation, the students focus on streamlining their beneficiary’s workflow and IT needs.

All four members of the Super-20 Capstone Team, along with Prof. Schafer (center), who supervised their project.

A Mission that Resonates

Before rolling up their sleeves and digging into the IT nitty-gritty, the Super-20 Team had to choose their direction by selecting an organization—this is where Shanthi Project comes in. 

“We couldn’t see how we couldn’t pick you,” the team told us.

When they learned about our mission, “we immediately dropped any other projects we were considering,” they said. In Shanthi Project’s dedication to spreading mindfulness among local schools, workplaces, and communities, the team saw potential for their Capstone to have a meaningful impact. After our first meeting together, the Super-20 Team had made up their mind, and to say that we at Shanthi were thrilled would be an understatement.

Going Above and Beyond

Over the course of several months, the Super-20 Team held several consultations with Shanthi Project. They interviewed Kim Hopkins, our Executive Director, to assess the current state of our technology, understand the challenges, and identify potential areas for improvement. Kim’s input provided insight, they noted: as Shanthi Project prepares to launch a new strategic plan, any IT changes must align with our long-term objectives. With our needs in mind, the team focused on developing practical recommendations to propel our mission forward. By the beginning of April, they had completed their project, and the Super-20 Team presented their findings to Shanthi Project—this included a written report, a Powerpoint, and a video presentation.

But alongside their Capstone, the students had been working on a surprise, too: a donation of laptops.

For two years, Muhlenberg College’s laptop recycling program was paused, leaving dozens of gently-used laptops without a home. Knowing this, the Super-20 Team negotiated with José Dieudonné, CIO of the Office of Information Technology at Muhlenberg College, hoping to secure twenty of these laptops for Shanthi Project. José was “extremely excited and immediately on board,” the Super-20 Team shared, and within weeks, they had procured the laptops. Generously, Nick Diacogiannis, owner of nCore, donated his services to help prepare the laptops and install basic infrastructure. At their final presentation, the Super-20 Team finally unveiled the donation.

Hard at work cleaning, installing, and preparing the twenty PCs for donation to Shanthi Project.

Trish Shafer: The Capstone Liaison 

Our gratitude for this generous gift extends to new board member Trish Shafer—without her, this collaboration might never have been realized. Jason Shafer, an adjunct professor and Trish’s husband, supervised the Super-20 Team’s Capstone; it was Trish who suggested Shanthi Project as their beneficiary.

Born and raised in the Lehigh Valley, Trish remembers learning about Shanthi Project at its inception. Since then, our organization has grown and evolved in countless ways: “the mission speaks for itself,” said Trish. In January, she joined our board, having connected with Shanthi Project’s commitment to impacting mental health and wellbeing. From a young age, she herself has been drawn to mindfulness and currently practices through yoga, sound baths, meditation, and breathwork. “My cup runneth over that I can be part of such a wonderful organization,” she shared.

Trish brings a strong background in technology to the board, which led her to connect Shanthi Project with the Super-20 Team.

“It was serendipitous how it all came together,” she mused. “The stars aligned, for sure."

Upping Our Game: The Capstone’s Impact

This Capstone has been a major step forward for Shanthi Project. As the Super-20 Team hoped, their donation enables us to apply our resources toward mindfulness programming and redirect our focus toward the community members we serve. The team’s IT recommendations will also support us in running smoothly now and in the future. Board member Trish agrees: "It is a game changer for the organization as a whole.”

Even now, we can only begin to understand the true impact of the Capstone and the laptop donation. As months pass, the full significance of the project continues to sink in.

From all of us at Shanthi Project, thank you to the Super-20 Team for your alignment with our mission, your thoughtful collaboration, and the truly generous gift.

Shanthi Project in attendance at the team’s Capstone presentation at Muhlenberg College. From left to right: Fulvia Alderiso, Trish Schafer, Kim Hopkins, Jason Schafer, Denise Veres, Eric Mushock, and Matthew Rosa.

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