Fall 2005

The CTC VISTA Project: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

As the CTC VISTA Project, in the College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, begins its sixth year partnership with CTCNet and the Corporation for National and Community Service, we’d like to reflect on the fact that to date, 206 individual VISTAs have served at 94 sites in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The Project, one of approximately 100 technology-oriented AmeriCorps programs, continues to be the most sought after national service program in the entire system. This issue of the CTR helps explain why the project has flourished.

This fall season sees some major changes in project administration.  After five years at the helm, Director Peter Miller is stepping back from his leadership role into an advisory capacity while remaining Editor of this journal.  Stepping forward as Project Director is former Assistant Director Paul Hansen, who has been with the Project since the spring of 2004 and was previously Operations Manager for the Dorchester Community Center for the Visual Arts in Boston. 

In addition to project area support specialists Nettrice Gaskins, Frank Odasz, Ed Schwartz, and Jillaine Smith (see “The CTC VISTA Project — Update For Year 6: 2005-'06in the Spring-Summer 2005 Review), Danielle Martin joins the Project as Curriculum Coordinator and new Assistant Editor of the Review with contributions that are immediately impressive.

As the Project expands to fifty VISTAs serving around the country this year, support for those VISTAs is also expanding. Saul Baizman continues for a second year as a VISTA Leader at Project HQ, working with the Metro Boston contingent and other CTC VISTAs on the East Coast, as well as providing technical support for the national program.  Saul is joined by Becky Shuler, supporting our VISTAs in the Midwest, and Mike Denegal, working with folks serving on the West Coast.  Both Becky and Mike were CTC VISTAs last year. Becky worked with the Bridges to Digital Excellence Project at the Council for World Class Communities in Benton Harbor, Michigan, and Mike worked with the San Diego Community Technology Coalition and Occupational Training Services in San Diego, California.  Also continuing as a VISTA at Project HQ is Shannon McCue, working with the Community Media and Technology program.

In addition to the contributions of the two VISTA co-editors to this issue, there are five articles by current and recent project VISTAs and two by project supervisors. The VISTA section has additional examples of the impact of the Project — excerpts from the archives of project reports, newsletters, and VISTA journals, a special memorial tribute, a list and link to project videos and related articles from the CTR archives over the last five years. We trust this gives you a full sense of how Project participants work document our work and some of the most memorable aspects of being a CTC VISTA.


Dan Schackman has been Assistant Editor of the ComTechReview from the Winter 2004-05 issue through this issue, and served as a VISTA Leader for the CTC VISTA Project in 2004-05 and as a VISTA at CTCNet from 2002-04.  He is currently a doctoral student in Mass Communications and Graduate Fellow at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.


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