Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

April 01, 2010

Eileen Larrabee
Dan Keefe

NYS “Play in the Parks” App Contest For NYU-POLY Graduate Students

$5000 In Scholarships Awarded to the Best Web-Based or Mobile Applications

Albany, NY (April 1, 2010) – The New York State Chief Information Officer and Office for Technology (CIO/OFT), Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly) and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation today announced an application development contest for graduate students at the NYU-Poly. Graduate students of NYU-Poly are challenged to create a web-based or mobile application proposal for the NYS Play in the Parks App Contest to help citizens discover the beauty and history of the New York State park system. The grand prize winner will receive a $2,000 scholarship provided by NYU-Poly and will be eligible to develop their proposal as part of an unpaid Internship Program at CIO/OFT. Two second place winners will each receive a $1,000 scholarship to NYU-Poly and two Honorable Mentions will each be awarded a $500 scholarship.

"Citizens, businesses and visitors to New York State expect and deserve efficient and responsive delivery of State government services," said Governor David A. Paterson. "More and more people rely on the Internet and their mobile devices to interact with government and find information anywhere, anytime. This is a wonderful opportunity for the graduate students at NYU-Poly to use modern technologies to help New York showcase its wonderful parks and historic sites. Best of luck to all the applicants."

"We are extremely pleased to be part of the joint initiative with Polytechnic Institute of New York University and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation," said Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, New York State Chief Information Officer and Director of the Office for Technology. "Encouraging and nurturing an education focused on Information Technology is a great way to help New York develop an innovative and talented IT workforce of the future. Hosting a six-week internship at CIO/OFT is an excellent way for my agency to build a pipeline of talented innovators for tomorrow."

"For a public on-the-go, this joint effort has the potential to greatly enhance the visitor experience at our state parks and historic sites," said Carol Ash, commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. "This new partnership will provide a terrific opportunity to use expanding technology in order to better serve our patrons and reach new audiences. By providing useful information on features, programs and special events, we anticipate that this new tool will prove useful to visitors planning day trips, enjoying a spur of the moment adventure or simply learning more about our world-class park system."

"This is an exciting opportunity for graduate students at NYU-Poly to help New York State provide a real-world service need using technology," said Rico Singleton, Deputy CIO for Enterprise Strategy and Governance Services at New York State CIO/OFT. "The state's Empire 2.0 initiative is aimed at expanding state government's use of web-based and mobile technologies to provide greater access to state services and a stronger online relationship with New Yorkers. We are pleased to be part of this unique public/private partnership with NYU-Poly and our State Parks Office.

"Each year, 56 million people from around the world enjoy the beauty and rich history of New York's 178 state parks and 36 historic sites. Today, more people are replacing traditional desktop computers with highly mobile net books and smart phones. Accessing basic information about the parks such as park locations, hours of operation, park amenities and events on these devices is the way of the future. New York State is looking to involve talented graduate level students in developing a creative, useful mobile application to help an active and mobile generation discover all the beauty and opportunities the New York State Parks System offers, at home or on-the-go.

"We are pleased to join with the New York State Chief Information Officer/Office for Technology through this contest to unleash the creativity of our students to serve the people of New York State. We also see this as a great opportunity for our students to put into practice the skills and knowledge they have acquired through their educational efforts. A perfect partnership," said Dr. Andres Fortino, Associate Provost, Polytechnic Institute of NYU.

On June 5, 2009, New York State CIO/OFT launched the Empire 2.0 initiative. The mission of Empire 2.0 is to promote the increasing use of technology and social networking; and the sharing of information to increase transparency, efficiency and government participation for all citizens of New York. To support this effort, CIO/OFT created a statewide inter-agency Empire 2.0 group which continues to drive multiple strategies to implement Empire 2.0. The group, initially made up of CIO/OFT employees, has grown to include representatives from nine State agencies, including the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and several private universities. The group has a clear mission and several work groups are busy working on projects using new or emerging technologies.

The Empire 2.0 Committee serves as an incubator and pilot group for new social networking tools and technologies. The multi-pronged approach of the Empire 2.0 Committee involves education and training, solution piloting, and knowledge sharing – all with the goal of encouraging and guiding NYS agencies in the effective and efficient use of Web 2.0 technologies.

A panel of judges from Polytechnic Institute of New York University, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and the New York State Web 2.0 Committee will review applications for completeness and adherence to contest criteria. The contest deadline is April 30, 2010.

The contest deadline is April 30, 2010. For more information about the contest and application materials, contact Jeancarlo (J.C) Bonilla (Director of Graduate Enrollment Management at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University) at or 718-260-3201.###

About CIO/OFT: The State Chief Information Officer and Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) provide statewide IT strategic direction, IT policy and centralized IT services to the state and its governmental entities. CIO/OFT provides IT enterprise services to support the missions of state agencies by operating four mainframe data centers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including more than 90,000 telecom users, 50 statewide mission-critical applications, a secure network of over 1,600 miles of fiber, including IT operations, telecommunications, Internet and Intranet services, enterprise email systems and support, IT training, networking, data storage and processing. In addition, the agency has a world renowned project management practice, operates a first class technology academy for NY government entities and e-learning program for groups, operates a 24/7 customer care center, develops and supports web applications and assists with application development. For more information, visit