2022 Project Overview
By Jen Potter
Projects play an integral part of the MSE program. The MSE flagship program participates in a year-long studio project and the MSE-SS/MSE-ES programs participate in a one-semester practicum during the fall semester. In 2022, students had the opportunity to work with a variety of industries through the studio and practicum projects ranging from healthcare software to financial tools that help students understand the importance and mechanics of investing to, for the third year, helping send a rover to the moon.
The projects give students an opportunity to reflect on what they have learned in the classroom and apply those principles to a real, complex problem. And when faced with obstacles, a chance to learn how to adapt quickly. The project for Lucas Systems, a software company that specializes in AI and voice technology was a great example of how project parameters can change unexpectedly. Jason McElravy, Principal Product Architect at Lucas Systems, was impressed with the resiliency of the team he worked with. “We had intended to deploy our Jennifer mobile app with full system integrations but pivoted to using an existing app that mocked the behavior of the Jennifer app in order to eliminate the overhead of getting Jennifer to run in an emulator in favor of adding application functionality. I wasn’t 100% confident that there was a viable technical solution for this project. I was impressed with the student team’s tenacious and systematic approach to finding a solution to an ambiguous technical challenge. The team always used my feedback effectively in subsequent iterations of their work.”
Surefront, a product lifecycle management company that creates software for ecommerce, found themselves in a similar position. The original project brief asked for the creation of an extension to the company’s current platform that would primarily focus on the data transactions between Surefront and select ecommerce platforms. Not long after the project was underway, however, one of the major corporations Surefront partners with “decided they would not permit access to their development environment.” Doug Heckman, Chief Solutions Officer at Surefront said, “We asked the student team to instead focus on the quality and UX of the existing features. I was very impressed with the excellent collaboration, teamwork and results of the student team. Regular meetings and walkthroughs of the current state of the project with the student team were very valuable, and the documentation and handoff meetings at the conclusion of the project were also very useful and high-quality.”
Aspinity, a manufacturer of semiconductors that designs and develops analog machine learning chips for always-on sensing devices that run on battery, worked with a team of students in the Scalable Systems program. That team was tasked with creating a data management server with a defined set of APIs that would allow both Aspinity and external users to rapidly store, retrieve, and augment data securely, and privately. Glen Clark, Vice President of Engineering, was impressed with the student team. “It was a pleasure to work with them and they did an excellent job in terms of what they delivered, but more importantly, how they worked to come up with their deliveries; they were very thoughtful and professional. Their code, preparation for meetings and handoff materials were all very valuable for us.”
Thank you to all of the 2022 sponsors and best of luck to the graduating class of 2022. The MSE program looks forward to continuing to work with past sponsors and welcomes new partnerships in the future!