Thanks to a creative and motivated team of students from the School of Information Studies (iSchool) the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office is now able to provide the highest quality of law enforcement services online to the people who live, work, and visit Onondaga County with their new website.

Developed by iConsult, a graduate student organization at the iSchool, the Sheriff’s Office launched the new website earlier this year.

iConsult Project leader Ran Yan, a second year graduate student in the iSchool’s information management program,  led her team to complete this complicated project after brainstorming with Rick Quatrone, the head of IT management with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office. All of the iConsult team members are studying information management or telecommunications and network management at the iSchool.

In addition to Yan, the iConsult team working on the Sherriff’s Office website included iSchool graduate students Liu Ming, Na Xue, and Mingyu Zhong.

iConsult matches iSchool graduate students with entrepreneurs, businesses, government agencies, and non-profits across Syracuse, to provide one-on-one consulting services. The program gives students marketable experience while helping organizations with their information technology needs. Students enter the program with varying experience levels, allowing all participants to learn and improve their skills by working on projects. In addition to the real-world experience, iConsult also allows students to intellectually bridge the experience to the content delivered in their academic courses. The program enables the iSchool to place students and local organizations in a mutually beneficial situation.

“To start the project, our team first analyzed the original Sheriff’s website and collected basic information we needed, including a site map, the internal structure of the Sheriff’s Office, their requirements and expectations,” explained Yan. “After that, we redesigned and reorganized the architecture of the whole website, redefining the colors and layouts of the pages to make them more appealing. And then, we put everything together as a new website.”

Quatrone was very impressed by the team’s work. “I worked mostly with Ran and Na Xue one-on-one, and it was a pleasure working with them,” he said. “The whole team did a good job of planning out the site and organizing the data. We are very happy with the end result. I look forward to working with the team again.”

Yan notes that she received inspiration and became interested in applying her academic knowledge and technical expertise in web design after joining this project.

“I was seeking a way to combine what I learned at the iSchool and how I can apply that knowledge to the real-world projects,” Yan said. “On the business side, I developed my skills included organizing and prioritizing client requirements, professional communication, conflict management, project planning, teamwork and risk management.”

The project also allowed Yan and her team to find out what happens when things don’t go according to plan. “There are so many unexpected situations happening during a project development, and we came across a lot of these issues when building the website,” Yan said. “It was these times that we needed to work together as a team to solve the issues. And on the technical side, I practiced web design and development. It was such a good chance to apply what I learned in my web design class to a project.”

Currently, Yan’s team is working on another project with the Sheriff’s Office for a new database as well as a website for Compassionate Care of Central New York. Like other clients who have worked with iConsult student teams, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office showed great interest in working with the team again because of the quality of their work, and the smooth collaboration between the two parties.