Center for Applied Informatics connects students to community

Vance Underwood, Student

The Center for Applied Informatics or CAI is an outreach arm of Northern Kentucky University’s College of Informatics.  The CAI employs students as developers and programmers and is dedicated to developing of apps and websites for various clients.

One of the CAI most famous products is the mobile app known as Pulse Point, which was designed as a means of alerting first responders in the event of an emergency.  But the CAI has designed many other apps and websites for a wide range of clients.

Mobile Developer Daniel Slone, one of 20 students employed by the CAI, mentioned having worked on several projects such as the creation of a website for a church and the development of a mobile app for keeping track of bus schedules and finding tourist attractions.

When asked about CAI clients, Executive Director Jill Henry spoke of reaching out to clients ranging from large companies such as GE and PNG to smaller organizations such as start-ups or non-profits.  Assignments are brought to students through the “virtual co-op program,” which allows students to interview for jobs with the goal of giving them real world experience.  The CAI is continually seeking opportunities to network with potential employers and promote its services, Henry said.

The Center for Applied Informatics operates on a core curriculum where students apply for entry.  What asked what qualifications were looked for in students, Henry said that “typically we only accept students with a 3.0 or higher and students that show some initiative by creating either websites or mobile apps.”  Henry is in the process of creating an apprenticeship program for students who may otherwise be overlooked.