University of Southern Indiana
Students presenting to their client and USI faculty

USI students gain client-based experience through Center for Applied Research

May 1, 2017

By Stephanie Wagner, USI Opportunity Development Communications Intern

In January 2017, students from USI’s Romain College of Business began working with Pacific Press Technologies to create a mobile application for their customers to use. Brian Combs, Justin Hopkins, Mitchell Powers and Samantha Whitmore made up the student team that was led by Dr. Gongjun Yan, assistant professor of computer science and Dr. Dinko Bacic, assistant professor of computer information systems. The purpose of the app is to be able to easily calculate tensile strength for various metals. Students presented their work and basic functions of the app on April 20, 2017 to Pacific Press and USI faculty and staff.

Using Google analytics, Pacific Press identified beneficial statistics from their website proving that their spreadsheet calculator was the most visited page. This prompted Pacific Press to contact the Center for Applied Research (CAR) with the need to create a mobile app, so their customers could utilize their spreadsheet calculator on their mobile device. CAR connected Pacific Press with necessary faculty and students in order to get the project completed. The app is now available for download on Android devices with the potential for iOS compatibility in the future.

This project turned out to be phenomenal experience for the students. Experience working with an actual client is something that makes them stand out to potential employers when they are applying for jobs.

Students presenting the impact the project had“From this project, we gained insight as to what it is like to work for a real client. We were able to use the tools we learned in our classes, work together and provide a solution that takes our client to the next level in technology,” said Samantha Whitmore, USI student and project manager. “The fact that we completed a project for a local company is a rewarding feeling. Our client now has the basis to build on in the mobile application world, and our team built it. It doesn't get much better than that!” 

Additionally, this app is a huge benefit to Pacific Press. It is a resource they can use to not only provide value for their customers, but also drive interest in their business.

Pacific Press Technologies, located in Mt. Carmel, Illinois, designs hydraulic presses, press breaks and shears to help drastically reduce mechanic downtime. All of their machinery is made in the U.S. and their business has been improving brake technology for more than 70 years.

For more information on opportunities through the Center for Applied Research, visit

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