Creating a full-fledged vaccination camp management software to manage crowds, distribution of vaccines, notifications, and to effectively socially distance.
Student’s Name: Aditya Vinodh Arjun
Activity Name: COVID Vaccine Camp Management
Total number of Hours: 200 (Current - Subject to change)
Start Date: Jun 15, 2021
End Date: Ongoing
This is an initiative that I started with the influence and support of the people around me, namely my close family and friends. Even though I was not eligible to get vaccinated during the COVID-19 pandemic, I had witnessed the situation first hand and had heard numerous experiences from others who had gotten vaccinated. These experiences included extremely long wait times, no place to socially distance, and numerous occasions where the vaccine was not available to due to shortages or wastage because an insufficient number of people showed up. This situation was very personal to me, and I wanted to do what I could to help my community, so when I found out that a camp was being organized in my local colony, I volunteered to set up a fully automated system to help volunteers and managers to oversee the entire operation and send out digital forms to help people to register ahead of time. This would give the volunteers on the ground, much more time to prepare accordingly. This venture got me connected with the members of the regional Rotary Club. After a presentation to their team, they seemed very interested to adopt this tool in all of their camps, as they were the ones who were in charge of distributing the vaccine for my city. After a few modifications that they requested, I started to roll out this tool to a few pilot camps to see how it helped in the real world.
The exact technical details of this project are as follows. I had worked on the idea independently, and after approval by the people managing the camps, I had proceeded with implementing the application. I developed the entire backend infrastructure that would manage all the processes, and created an automated system that would automatically spin up a new server for each camp. This project utilized Node.js, Heroku, Google Cloud APIs, Twilio, Sendgrid, and MongoDB.
Working on this project was extremely hectic and difficult to manage as it was extremely time-intensive. It was difficult to manage my time as I was very busy in school, as well as having to manage my extracurriculars and SAT practice. The most important skill I had learnt out of this experience was time management.
I also had to work on the development, and regularly discuss and attend meetings with senior management that was responsible for the camp. Communication was crucial to effectively communicate my point and get work done faster. This was a completely new experience with me, as it gave me my first real-world experience. I had to work independently, and in groups. Being open-minded was essential to understanding others' view points, as well as being able to understand constructive feedback and suggestions for myself.
Most importantly, I had to always think in terms of others' perspectives as I was designing and developing an app that was going to be used by other people in my community, not me. I had to relate with them, and empathize with their situation when considering different features to implement. My community is very diverse, and there a lot of people who cannot even afford an economical phone. I had to accommodate everyone without accidentally discriminating anyone because they lack access to some resource.
Identify your own strengths and develop areas for personal growth.
I have been aware of most of my strengths and weaknesses from the beginning of this project, and that is how I planned out the development accordingly. But apart from this inital self-analysis, I got to learn much more about myself.
My strengths included self-determination and being a risk-taker. I am a very curious person and I will go out of my way to learn and explore. As this was a project was something that I had a lot of interest in, I had no issues in getting work done. However, I lacked in time management skills. I often procrastinated and found it difficult to get started. This was an initial inhibitor until I learnt to control it from help from my parents. On the other hand, I have never been a good communicator. Although I could communicate simple ideas, I always hesitated to voice my opinions in a large crowd. This was a crucial skill that I developed over the course of this project, and I feel it will carry me forward in the future during my career.
Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
Few of the challenges that I faced were the lack of actual knowledge and skills to accomplish the task. Formulating algorithms and the actual idea and plan was as it quite complex. But implementing it, was an entire different ball game. However, I managed to pull through and figure out the issues I had. The main issue was the lack of support I had as I could not get in touch with anyone else who had experience with the same field.
The other challenge that I faced was the constant pressure and push to implement new features from other members involved in this project. Even though it was possible for me to implement features that they requested, it was important to set boundaries and goals, as this was not the only work I was doing. I needed to set a clear limit and express my intentions to the team, to effectively priortize and utilize my time.
Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience.
My CAS experience started with a thorough understanding of the problem and situation. Only after conducting my preliminary situation and a self-assessment, I started to plan out my tasks. Think included my research to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills, as well as my actual implementation and collaborative work with everyone. On completion of this, I began monitoring and reviewing my progress and the feedback, and began incremental updates and changes to continue this work. Although the important work is completed, this project will continue to serve many citizens, and my reflection throughout this journey will be instrumental in helping me to identify problems and improve.
Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences.
My commitment to this project was crucial, and without it, I would not have been able to bring it to the stage that it exists in today. I had had to over come many challenges in order to continue this work, and my determination in completing this has helped me demonstrate this. Prioritization and a frequent reminder of the end goal and purpose has helped me through this CAS experience and to develop further as an individual.
Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively.
As mentioned above, communication and collaboration was a vital element of this CAS experience, without which I would not have been able to complete this project and reach a wide audience to actually make a meaningul impact. Working collaboratively has helped me emphasize with others and learn the vast differences in lifestyle that can occur within the same region and culture, which causes us to experience different challenges that we must solve.
Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.
I usually like to tie in my CAS experiences with one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, as these represent the most pressing issues of our society. Any small effort that I can contribute is better than nothing. Although there are a lot of factors involved, I feel that this is most related with and addresses the third goal:
Goal 3 Good Health and Well-being
The pandemic has severely impacted many people. And the people who suffer the most, are the ones that usually suffer more than the rest of the population. This crisis has increased the divide that already existed, and has sent more people into poverty. I wanted to do my best to accommodate as much as people as possible, by giving them access to the vaccine.
Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions.
When reaching such a wide audience, there are a lot of instances when I have to step back and consider my actions and the consequences that they might bring. I need to consider many languages, dialects, cultures, differently-abled people, citizens with a lack of smartphones or computers, etc. I cannot get into any situation where I unknowingly discriminate people from using my services just because they cannot afford a phone. Another situation that I must consider is the distribution of information. During such a crisis, there is a lot of false information circulating in the media, and it is my responsibility as a citizen to always educate people proven, factual information that can help save lives. For this reason, every line that I mention on my website, is critically reviewed to ensure there is no discrepancies, confusions, or nonfactual data that might harm my end users.