Tech Blog: Overhaul of UA International Travel Registry Shines Spotlight on Innovation in Office of Global Initiatives and Tech.Global

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Ash Scheder Black, Eddie Ornelas, Robert Johnson, Lewis Humphreys

From left to right: Ash Scheder Black (Data Analyst, Office of Global Initiatives and Executive Director of Tech.Global), Eddie Ornelas (Undergraduate/Tech.Global Member), Robert Johnson (Undergraduate/Tech.Global Member), and Lewis Humphreys (TLA Software & IT Licensing Manager) Credit: Taylor Hudson

Listen to the sixth episode of our podcast, Invented Arizona, where we speak with Ash Scheder Black, Eddie Ornelas, and Robert Johnson about Tech.Global's work on revamping the UA International Travel Registry.

Imagine having to keep track of hundreds or even thousands of employees who are travelling within the United States and abroad. That is exactly what the University of Arizona, which employs over 15,000 people, and many other universities must track on a daily basis.

University employees travel to conduct sponsored research, to complete degree requirements or even solely as representatives of the University, often with sensitive data in tow.

Employees travelling internationally are required to register their trip using the current University International Travel Registry so that Risk Management Services can quickly locate them in the event that there is an emergency in their area. Unfortunately, the system is antiquated, resulting in a frustrating experience for both registrants and risk management employees.

Ash Scheder Black, a data scientist within the UA’s Office of Global Initiatives (OGI), recognized this growing burden as an opportunity for the University to solve its own problem with the help of a program he created within OGI called Tech.Global

Tech.Global is a “UA non-credit 100% engagement experience created to empower students who love technology to develop market-ready skills—like MVC, SQL, and JavaScript—in an internationalized, highly collaborative team environment.” In simpler terms, Tech.Global helps students to master software/application design and cybersecurity principles while assisting on projects that better the University of Arizona. 

Ash Scheder Black

Learn more about Ash Scheder Black.

With the help of the Tech.Global team, including undergraduate students like Eddie Ornelas and Robert Johnson, Black began developing a new system, known as UA Travel, to provide faculty, students, and staff with a user-friendly travel registration experience that automates the elements of risk assessment in real-time.

While UA Travel was in development, Black, Johnson and Ornelas participated in the NSF iCorps program at TLA, where they were able to further understand users’ specific pain points, which were key in developing their software solution. 

By combining submitted traveler information and alert data from a third-party vendor,the team developed a map showing all registered travelers’ locations and the events that may affect them, reducing the amount of time needed for Risk Management Services to contact affected travelers via text message. UA Travel has additional customer relationship management (CRM) functions like the logging of interactions and the ability for anyone on the Risk Management Services team respond to any case, a feature that Johnson finds transformative. 

“What’s really fascinating is that we’re equipping really great, dynamic, and more importantly, effective value tools to the people who need it the most – the people who make decisions, the people who have to be responsible, the people who have the duty of care, the people who are doing all of this on the other side. Being able to give them tools they’ve never had before is a huge transformation.”

The development of UA Travel is not just a win for the University of Arizona; it is available for licensing to universities nationwide who continue to experience the same pains that the Tech.Global team has now eliminated.

Says Ornelas, “Being able to take care of them [faculty, staff, students], becoming their oracle, seeing problems before they happen, making sure they have the right information…I like developing software like that - software that helps people, software that promotes humanity.”

To learn more about this technology, visit:

UA17-167 UA Travel – Integrated Travel Registry, Risk Management, and University Data Interoperability Solution

Listen and Learn: Listen to Episode 6 of the Invented Arizona podcast, featuring this technology!

To learn more about other travel-related software available from the University of Arizona, visit:

UA15-097 Traverse and Trajectory Optimization and Multi-Purpose Tracking

UA16-250 SmartBike Data Analytics to Improve Bike Sharing Service and Efficiency

- written by Taylor Hudson
Taylor Hudson
Technology Marketing Associate