Taylor’s CSE department, a Taylor parent, and a Taylor alumnus teamed up to complete Charitable Planning, a project that provides aid to people all over America.
Emil Kallina, parent of a then-CSE-student, is an attorney from Maryland as well as the founder and president of the site. Charitable Planning is a website that maximizes the ability of donors to give to various organizations by educating them in the intricacies of charitable donations.
Kallina hired Luke Ehresman, a 2004 Taylor CSE graduate, as the Chief Technical Officer. Kallina and Ehresman used their Taylor connections to involve CSE professors and students in the project.
“We have always wanted to involve Taylor students and professors in the project for our mutual benefit,” Ehresman said. “It is a great opportunity for Taylor students to work on a real-life project, and we also gain from having fresh perspectives on the problems we are trying to solve.”
Then-sophomore David Colgan worked on optical character recognition (OCR) technologies, allowing users to search for words within scanned documents in the Charitable Planning database.
This was the first major coding project Colgan had worked on: “It was a unique experience writing code for a job rather than for a class… There is more pressure to make sure that the code really worked, because it is code someone would actually use, and people would be paying for it.”
Then-sophomore Jesse Denardo worked with Colgan on the OCR and did other work for the site, including cross-linking the documents and writing scripts that crawl the web to find updates about relevant charitable donations.
Denardo said that working for a real employer taught him about focusing on that employer’s requirements:
“As a programmer, I feel that I grew quite a bit . . . every aspect of the project had to work with no margin for error.”
The project is still growing, joining the list of the many ongoing, real-world coding projects worked on by CSE students at Taylor.
Written by Andrew Neel.
Updated in July 2016.