MIS student Christian Hyatt spent this summer paying it forward. Three years ago, an internship at the Paulding County IT department sparked his interest in web design. Hyatt took that experience to heart and eventually co-founded a web consulting business while still enrolled at Terry. Now a senior, Hyatt is once again a summer intern, but this time around he is the one providing the knowledge. He is the project manager for a team of MIS students completing a web portal for Washington County, located 90 minutes southeast of Athens, as a part of the Archway Partnership Project.
“They want to give their audience a more interactive experience,” says Hyatt of the team’s design of a new website to revamp the community’s online image. Washington County will use the site to post news, upcoming events, and happenings in community development for each of its cities.
“We felt we got a real bang for our buck,” says Washington County Chamber of Commerce vice president Ree Garrett, who explained that partnering with the University System of Georgia and its faculty and student know-how is a great benefit to them as one of a number of cities and counties known as Archway Communities. These communities identify their needs and work with an Archway professional whose job it is to find the educational resources necessary to execute the project. “When we [told Archway professional Roger Harrison] we needed help with our website, he immediately went to Terry and their MIS students.”
Harrison contacted MIS professor Mark Huber, who traveled to Washington County to assess their needs. Huber recommended to Garrett that a team of students could work on the project under his directed study for class credit, with one of the students given a summer internship as the project manager. Huber recommended Hyatt for the job.
“He’s easy to direct because he’s a self-starter and does stuff on his own,” says Huber, who believed that Hyatt, in addition to hitting it off with Garrett immediately, already had the extensive web design experience to make him a natural fit.
As the co-founder and director of strategic marketing for Hyped Consulting, Hyatt has built a portfolio of clients that includes nonprofit organizations, local retail and service businesses, and various residential and commercial real estate agencies. However, the Archway project included the added responsibility of community liaison.
“The biggest difference was dealing with an entire county. Each city has its own section so it’s an all-encompassing website. I had to go down there and talk with representatives of each of the towns in the county that needed something done,” says Hyatt, who also got good reviews from his team for doing an excellent job of communicating and delegating the workload among several students.
“Working with Christian was a real pleasure. He is very personable and extremely knowledgeable,” says rising senior Jeremy Hahn, a dual major in MIS and finance, who was responsible for writing a lot of the website content. “I learned a lot more about the process of developing business solutions for a specific client.”
Huber says the project modeled many his students will eventually take on as professionals. “It was really a great way for them to extend the learning they get in the classroom, and it’s service to a community in Georgia in an area where you typically don’t see a lot of UGA presence,” says Huber. “It’s a chance to show the community that we have great students who are talented, work hard, and they can help by taking what they learn in our programs and give back.”