Mentors Program Database System – Shedd Aquarium

Industry: Non-Profits, Associations and Organizations
Solution: Mentors Program Database System
Technologies: Microsoft Access, SQL Server
Solution Type: Custom Database Application

Shedd Aquarium logo
The John G. Shedd Aquarium opened its doors to the public on May 30, 1930. It is located on Lake Michigan and is one of Chicago’s premier attractions. More than a museum, the Shedd not only provides a home for 32,500 fish, sea creatures, and other animals but also offers a wide range of educational and community service programs.
The John G. Shedd Aquarium is one of the leading zoos and aquariums in the United States. The aquarium features an historic building with Greek- and Roman-style architecture, a wide variety of public exhibits, a lake ecology program, and a wide variety of animal conservation and educational services.

Challenge Challenge - Mountain without Flag

The company required a database in order to better manage its Mentor Programs. These programs are designed to promote self-expression, confidence building, independence, and leadership. Management of such programs for the general public demands complete tracking of medical forms and other required documentation as well as readily available emergency contact information. The company also wished to retain sufficient information regarding programs and attendance to provide input to management reporting.

Solution Solution - Mountain with Flag

The database is used to effectively manage the Shedd’s mentor program functions including registration and attendance. A key component involves the assessment questionnaires that participants fill out. This feature includes flexible reporting for management analysis and planning. The system tracks Mentor Programs and their participants and automates program administrative tasks that are currently manual. Information is now more readily available to staff and easier to locate. Information obtained from the structured questionnaires helps the Shedd manage and improve the program.
Mentor Programs Database
alligatortek developed a database that offers search options by program and by participant. The database acts as a single repository for all information regarding participants including their schools, guardians, and contact information. It also tracks the programs themselves in order to manage and assess the various Mentor Programs.
Managing People
The system stores comprehensive information about participants in the mentor programs, including name, birth date, and a photo. Contact information includes address, home phone, email, and cell phone. Medical information allows for attaching scanned medical records. The user may also add additional notes at various steps in the process. Functions that are crucial to the efficiency and usefulness of the solution include the ability to quickly locate participant information and to cross reference multiple participants with a shared guardian. Additionally the user can export all contact and email information for all attendees and registrants to an Excel file.
Managing Programs
The management of the programs themselves provides for all phases of the program process. This includes steps preparatory to presenting the program, registration and attendance, and also questionnaire response tracking once the event has occurred. The user may associate numerous documents of all kinds with the program, including those that the student has produced. Using the system’s student selection screen, the Shedd’s staff can easily send out bulk emails as needed. A primary focus of the solution is gathering participant responses, an area requiring extensive flexibility. The user may define and delete evaluation questions for the programs without assistance from programming staff.
Management Reports
The reporting functions are extensive and include such options as reporting by zip code, ethnicity, and grade level. Reports by individual and by emergency contact provide a rapid response capability. The system exports selected questionnaire data to Excel for easy cross comparison and effective analysis. The ability to assess participant responses provides phenomenal value to the Shedd as it works on continuing program improvement to better serve and educate.

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