Apr. 1, 2022
CWU Computer Science Students Develop App for Ford Motor Company
Five Central Washington University computer science students were presented with a monumental task—create a vehicle charging station application (app) for real-world use. The student’s capstone project—the culmination of their CWU education—was sponsored and overseen by the Ford Motor Company and developed in just 10 weeks.
The team of students designed and built an app to assist electric vehicle owners in finding charging stations appropriate for their vehicle, using a programming language and development framework they had never encountered before, for a real client expecting real results. That client was Bob Rapp, senior partner at Envorso and mentor to CWU Computer Science students, who came away from the project impressed with the students’ work.
“Central is wonderful, the students are incredible, the faculty is great, and the administration is easy to work with,” Rapp said of the public-private partnership. “I love the ability the students have to think outside the box. They work really hard, they do great work, and frankly, I wish I was that smart when I was their age.”
The group was comprised of Kirsten Boyles, Lucas Keizur, Craig Turnbell, Richard DeYoung, and Joe Corona, all who are graduating Computer Science majors. While the group was advised by CWU Professor of Computer Science Szilárd Vajda, all development and strategy decisions were left entirely up to the students.
“Professor Vajda gave us a lot of really good guidance,” Boyles said. “He was the one who really pushed us when we expressed interest in going the Flutter and Dart direction and helped us keep our end-goal in sight so we didn’t get lost in the tunnels along the way.”
Flutter, a software development framework, and Dart, a programming language, were both unfamiliar to the team, but they learned the ins and outs of these new systems as they developed their app, to great success.
“We were encouraged by our client to step outside of our comfort zone,” DeYoung said. “Not only did we learn something new, we also demonstrated that our team is able to acquire and apply a new skillset within a 10-week timeframe.”
Vajda says assignments like this are critical to student success. “Rather than assign ordinary, abstract school projects, I try to find real-life, client-led capstones for my students,” Vajda said. “This way their work is very in-demand and they get the opportunity to work with industry professionals before they graduate.”
As a result of their success, all five students on the team have been offered internships with Envorso to continue building their app. Rapp also expressed interest in hiring them full-time upon internship completion, to polish up the app and release it for worldwide use.
Media contact: Rune Torgersen, Department of Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org, 509-963-1264