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Partnering on projects with the Innovation Campus

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Category: academics Video duration: Partnering on projects with the Innovation Campus
Partnerships between the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus and public and private corporations and entities create practical experiences for computer engineering and computer science graduate students, while helping companies to solve complex problems.
The students work on a semester long project with goals such as they must demonstrate a working system. So the process is basically coming up with an idea for a project and then vetting it with the professor and with the sponsor. And then working on that idea with a team of people. Some of the groups had sponsors like Torc, Boeing. And then two groups chose to make their own product. We did our Capstone project sponsored by Torc Robotics. They do autonomous vehicles. The sponsor would give them a real world problem they're working on, they want students to work on. I think it really helped to have that sponsor and to be able to like, how do you work with somebody in a company, in a business, you know, stakeholder. It was a little bit of excitement because we're getting to work with cool technology that we're all interested in, but also a little bit of nervousness. Are we actually going to be able to do this? Is this actually going to work out? Are we going to end up getting good results? But then towards the end of it, we were like, oh yeah, this is actually pretty good. I could see this very easily being legitimately used in a real autonomous vehicle. One thing I didn't really expect going into it is how much I would need to focus on my communication skills. It's beneficial for them to have that side of things where you have to be able to communicate what you're building to someone else. And I think that's the benefit of the Capstones, having not only you're applying your technical skills, you're learning how to delegate tasks, how to work with other people within your group, and also people who are like stakeholders, who are giving you the requirements. It's definitely really awesome to get that experience, to be able to know what that workflow really feels like.