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June 5, 2008

UAlbany Professor and Students Help Create Online Site for Youth Services

A new online site for youth services, Connected Kids, is connected to the University at Albany-SUNY as well.

Communication Professor Teri Harrison was a part of an original Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute team that received funding for the project from the National Science Foundation's Digital Government Program. After joining UAlbany in 2001, she continued to develop the site with Rensselaer County.

UAlbany undergrads Jamie Tedesco and Erin Kammerer, and graduate students Marina Marcou-O'Malley and Christina Wu worked with Harrison on the project.

Connected Kids, with its bright yellow design and four searchable sections for parents, teens, kids, and organizations, debuted this spring. The easy-to-navigate Web site lists everything from Children's Introduction to Clay (Arts Center of the Capital Region) to a list of Troy city pools for swimming, to a schedule for Tri-City Valley Cats Baseball.

RPI professor of communication and rhetoric Jim Zappen and associate professor of computer science Sibel Adali led the project.

"Right now, children and parents can come to one Web site and find out about services and programs offered by over 60 organizations. Over time, we hope these numbers will increase and Connected Kids will become even more valuable," Harrison said.

There are listings of drawing and painting workshops, moviemaking summer camps, and tidbits about Troy history for history buffs. Included in the galleries section under Troy Innovations are stories about Hannah Montague, the inventor of the detachable collar, and on Henry Burden's horseshoe machine, which produced 60 horseshoes per minute for the Union Army in the Civil War.

According to Harrison, Connected Kids is averaging about 500 visitors a day. 

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