Computer science students partner with companies and government on collaborative projects

A group of students presents on their senior project in front of a room full of people.
Students presented details on their senior computer science projects.
Image Credit: Rachael Mooney

From machine-learning algorithms to research databases to data aggregation, more than a dozen teams of Grand Valley computer science students showcased collaborative work projects at the Fall 2019 Computer Science Senior Project Reception December 11 at the Kirkhof Center. 

Projects were created for sponsoring companies, including Whirlpool, Proctor and Gamble, Mercy Health, the City of Grand Rapids and more.

Jonathan Engelsma, director of Grand Valley's Applied Computing Institute, said the senior project course provides students with an opportunity to work with a client and develop meaningful software. This semester, 14 teams delivered software solutions to 10 different industry partners.

“From the students' point of view, this is the capstone of their computer science degree program," Engelsma said. "It is a significant undertaking for each team as they learn to engage clients with a real software need, elicit the requirements for the deliverable, learn new software stacks, accurately estimate effort, track progress, write and test lots of code, and ultimately deliver software that delights their client. The experience pulls together in a meaningful and authentic way, all of the technical and professional skills they’ve acquired during their studies at GVSU."

Engelsma said experiential learning is an important component in all computing degree programs at Grand Valley. 

The Applied Computing Institute, Grand Valley's experiential learning platform for computing students works closely with industry partners to identify meaningful collaboration opportunities, Engelsma said. 

"High-impact experiential learning and engagement helps reinforce the concepts, knowledge and skills students acquire in the classroom, and provides a tangible benefit to both the student and the industry partner," he said.

For more information on computing programs at Grand Valley, visit or