OGDEN — Richard Fry, an associate professor of computer science at Weber State University, is the recipient of this year’s Lindquist Award. The award will be presented at a luncheon on Tuesday.
“The John A. Lindquist award is a premier award for faculty and staff at Weber State who go above and beyond to mentor students, partner with community members and invest in long-term impact,” Melissa Yack Hall, executive director of the Center for Community Engaged Learning, said in a statement. “Dr. Richard Fry is a name heard over and over on campus when people discuss faculty members committed to community-engaged learning.”
Fry began his career with the military, where he managed a help desk for several thousand Air Force computer users, built the first mobile computer deployment kits for troops stationed in Iraq and administrated a working capital fund database for the Department of Defense, which tracked millions of dollars in information technology assets.
Fry began teaching in the College of Engineering Applied Science & Technology at WSU in 2001 and in 2009 was introduced to the Center for Community Engaged Learning, where Fry says he discovered a hidden passion for service.
Since 2009, he and his students have designed and developed several opened-sourced software engineering projects, currently impacting citizens in the local community. In addition, Fry has led more than 100 students on service-learning, study-abroad trips, most recently to Thailand, where they were involved in teaching underprivileged and orphaned Thai students English skills through custom-built Android apps.
In conjunction with this initiative, Fry and his students also are working with a University in Northern Thailand to digitally capture and translate Thai folklore and stories in English.
In 2014, Fry’s students also helped a hospital in Ghana, West Africa, turn stacks of medical records into electronic files that could be used and shared with ease. In Dunedin, New Zealand, Fry’s computer science students collaborated with educators and local officials to create an open-sourced web application that tracks, documents and archives the impact that the lack of available health services has on children living in rural communities.
Closer to home is the software program a team of Fry’s computer science students created to help employees at a local restaurant fill orders more smoothly. Runway Ruby’s, located at Hill Air Force Base, primarily employs adults with special needs.
Fry’s students partnered with the Pioneer Adult Rehabilitation Center to develop a web-based queuing system designed with the special needs of the employees in mind. The system enables the lunch rush to flow more efficiently, has improved customer satisfaction and lowered employee stress levels.
For their software system, the nine-member student team was selected as a finalist at the Institute for Empowerment design awards in Washington, D.C. in 2014. The competition focuses on helping individuals with developmental disabilities.
Fry’s students have also helped Catholic Community Services build a sophisticated inventory control system for the Ogden Food Pantry and worked with St. Vincent de Paul Dining Hall to create a computer system to track volunteer hours.