Student programmer codes solution to save University resources

Rachel Garman

There are many ways students leave their mark in their four (or more) years at Penn State. But how many can say they implemented a solution that will save the University valuable time, money, and resources?

That’s exactly the legacy Audra Stafursky, a senior studying information sciences and technology with a focus on design and development, will leave behind long after she’s left the classroom.

Since November 2016, Stafursky, also a computer lab consultant with Student Technology Services (STS), has been leading a project to program a new automated inventory system for computer lab locations across Penn State’s University Park campus.

The old inventory process requires two lab supervisors to manually enter data about such resources as toner, paper, and ink into an Excel spreadsheet for all locations on campus, a process that can take anywhere from two to three hours to complete.

After learning of Stafursky’s interest in programming, Zachary Przybilla, manager of STS, sought her help in making this process more efficient.

“I brought Audra in and I said, ‘Here's the deal. I need a problem solver. Here's my problem,’ and I told her about the inventory process,” Przybilla said. “She looked at this flowchart that I had in front of me for a little bit, and finally she said, ‘I think I could do something with this.’ So I handed it off and asked her to report back with her ideas.”

Over the course of the next few months, Stafursky programmed both the front and back end of the new inventory system. The result is a product that will reduce both the time and money required to complete inventory tasks.

“They wanted a system that would automate the process, so I created a full stack project,” Stafursky said. “It's going to be a website that connects to a database, and the system automatically tells the supervisors the amount of things they have to order so they don't have to go through by hand to do it themselves.”

Before programming STS’s new inventory process, Stafursky completed an internship with The Vanguard Group, where she first gained exposure to MEAN stack development—the same software she later used to build her inventory solution.

But Stafursky’s initial interest in technology started earlier with a little help from her father.

“My dad is actually a computer programmer, and when I was in high school thinking about what I wanted to do in college, he kind of got me started doing programming classes online and would teach me whenever he could,” Stafursky said. “From there, I just kept taking more classes and then ended up majoring in information sciences and technology.”

As Stafursky prepares for life after graduation in December, she’ll be facing the world with not only a Penn State education, but with the valuable experience gained from working with STS.

“After I graduate, I'd like to work as a programmer and get my master’s in software engineering,” Stafursky said. “After that, I'm not really sure. There's a chance I could do some part-time or online teaching. Whatever I end up doing, I want to continue programming as much as I can.”

To learn more about Audra and her programming project, read the full Penn State News article