Real Work, Real Outcomes

Project Center celebrates 30 years of public & private sponsorships of projects for engineering and computer science students

June 2, 2017

The Boeing Company, PACCAR/Kenworth Truck Company and the City of Seattle (Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities) were honored today for their long-term involvement in sponsoring real-world engineering and computer science projects for Seattle University seniors and graduate students. Today marked the 30th anniversary of the Seattle University Project Center.

Established in 1987 as one of the first in the nation, the Project Center is a collaboration between the College of Science and Engineering and industry sponsors. The Project Center links small teams of students with companies and nonprofit organizations to work on projects in computer science and software engineering, electrical and computer, mechanical, civil and environmental engineering and environmental science.

Applying theory to real life projects underscore the work of the student teams. Many of the students are hired by the sponsoring company or nonprofit after graduation.

Student teams, with the guidance of faculty, often work more than 1,000 hours to complete a project. This year, sponsors supported 37 projects for 150 students.  In all, nearly 4,000 Seattle U students have worked on more than 700 projects with some 200 organizations since 1987. More than 30 patents have been issued to the sponsoring organizations.

A university-produced video shows students’ work with Kenworth and Lighthouse for the Blind.

Boeing and PACCAR/Kenworth have sponsored a total of 131 projects since becoming inaugural Project Center partners in 1987. Seattle City Light has been involved for 25 years, sponsoring 30 projects. Seattle Public Utilities has sponsored 12 projects in 15 years.

Following the opening remarks and ceremony, graduating seniors in engineering, environmental science and computer science gave poster sessions and presentations of the results of yearlong industry-led projects. They included a presentations on a sales recommendation system for Costco based on machine learning; and a semantic graph database and  development of a compact robotic testing platform for T-Mobile.

The evening before, on June 1, projects by students in the Master of Software Engineering program were highlighted. They included presentations on the development of a mobile app for a small local startup and the development of Global Repository of Plant Operations Data system for PACCAR.