DevHub@Wise is a student-led organization working to bring innovative technology solutions to far Southwest Virginia. The founding interns: Devon Greene, Logan Lane and Morgan Lees, supported by the Provost for Academic Technology at the University of Virginia, MainStreet21 Research Coordination Network, DevHub Charlottesville and the ACCORD (Assuring Controls Compliance of Research Data) Project, are launching the inaugural DevHub@Wise program this summer. Taking heavy inspiration from the successful model of DevHub at UVA Charlottesville, our primary objectives are to: (1) train and educate students from UVA Wise in technological literacy (ex. app development) and (2) address issues in the Appalachian community with technology-based solutions.

The original DevHub organization at UVA was originally developed by the Vice Provost for Academic Technology to catalyze interest in mobile app development among the student base. Over its four-year history, DevHub has seen major successes, and we seek to build off of this strong foundation. DevHub@Wise aims to deliver the following services to UVA Wise and the surrounding community:

  • Practical trainings on technologies of interests. Topics are selected by the students. Examples include: mobile app development, web development, artificial intelligence models, and blockchain deployment.
  • Engage with the surrounding community organizations, e.g., small businesses, nonprofit, and schools, to identify practical problems that the students can work on. Examples include website development for a small business, and app development for a nonprofit.
  • Connect student teams with community projects, and thereby allow students to learn through practical experience.
  • Connect students with technology mentors through DevHub Charlottesville. Examples include faculty and staff at UVA, or businesses in Charlottesville such as Willow Tree.
  • Maintain a vibrant community for students by implementing regular activities such as hackathons, project competition, community presentations, and field trips.
  • Catalyze an innovation ecosystem in Wise, Virginia by engaging with the UVA Wise Office of Economic Development. Support, community entrepreneurship and economic development activities, such as the SW Virginia Economic Forum, and the Virginia MainStreet21 smart and connected community program.

The implementation of this project is made possible with funding from the Jefferson Trust Foundation, support from UVA Wise Office of Economic Development and Strategic Initiatives and collaborations with UVA Charlottesville.  The project team is looking forward to their first student cohort and engaging the surrounding communities to bring innovative technology solutions and development to far Southwest Virginia.