From Class to Dot Com: Student Isaac Meals and Kyle Hurlbrink ’14 Tap Information Systems Courses to Co-Found Student Marketplace

Posted on 9/25/2014 2:52:33 PM

ISDS student Isaac Meals and graduate Kyle Hurlbrink '14

Management information systems student Isaac Meals (left) and graduate Kyle Hurlbrink '14

Student Isaac Meals, a management information systems major, from Indiana, Pa. takes what he’s learned on both sides of his MIS major—computer science and business—and puts it into action.

He writes code in several computer languages, collaborates with local businesses, and creates marketing strategies.

It’s all part of building out IUPStudents.com, a marketplace exclusively for IUP students that he developed and launched with fellow MIS major Kyle Hurlbrink ’14 last spring.

At the marketplace, students can buy and sell textbooks and compare prices; check out off-campus housing options; and join rosters with other students based on major, dorm, and classes.

The project is a great example of entrepreneurial learning, as Meals and Hurlbrink drew much from the courses and faculty support available to them in the Department of Information Systems and Decision Sciences (ISDS) at Eberly College of Business.

“If I hadn’t been in ISDS, I don’t know if I would’ve done it. I found inspiration here,” said Meals.

Professor Pankaj was helpful throughout the process, says Meals. “In his ASP class, we went over cascading style sheets, CSS3, one of the languages being used on the site,” said Meals.

“Professor Pankaj has also been a really good sounding board." For example, Meals said the professor recommended they consult with the Indiana Gazette for advice on legal matters related to the way they did their housing list.

They got the idea for the roster feature from a project in Professor Jim Rodger’s project management class. It was inspired by students posting their schedules on Facebook to find out who else is enrolled in their upcoming classes.  

Since May, when Hurlbrink graduated, Meals has taken on the challenge of growing the site and building new options for visitors.  

With help from a team of other students—Jen Johnson, Ben DiYanni, and Ashley Pappal—Meals is working on expanding the marketplace this fall to expand the roster feature to allow students to create their own clubs lists and introduce restaurant specials; student services, such as tutoring or sewing; and items for sale.

—Marilyn Kukula and Deborah Klenotic, photo by Keith Boyer, IUP Communications and Marketing