Students Create Database for CCMH

Vicky Smith
Managing Editor
@pinkwritinglady

Students participating in a spring interdisciplinary class are creating a searchable database application for Comanche County Memorial Hospital (CCMH).
In its seventh year, the interdisciplinary class is a combination of Information Technology (IT) Capstone, Computer Science (CS) Capstone, Multimedia (MM) Capstone and an internship with the English department.
Computing and technology instructor Dave Smith said he and the other professors run the class as though it is a software company.
Smith is the CEO, Dr. Chao Zhao is the chief information officer (CIO), Dr. Abbas Johari is the chief knowledge officer (CKO) and Dr. William Carney is the chief data officer (CDO).
The point of contact for the project’s client, CCMH, is Lillian Estep, the informatics manager of CCMH.
Estep said the purpose of the project is to create a searchable database application that will store medical bone and tissue data.
“The application will replace the current paper and excel spreadsheet process,” she said, “and [it] will eliminate employees from duplicating data entry.”
Smith said the students will gain experience in their field when working on the project. The students will create the frontend, middleware and backend of the system.
“They have to pull all their skills together to be able to do this,” Smith said. “It’s a huge undertaking.”
According to Smith, the project is an all-around win for the students, the client, the professors and the university.
“They [students] get letters of recommendation,” he said. “The clients win because they get anywhere from a $50,000- to a $100,000 piece of software [at no charge].
“It makes the professors successful as well and keeps us up to speed on what we’re doing. Cameron wins because we’re doing these experiential and service-learning projects.”
Smith said the students work hard and fast to complete the project by the end of the semester.
“The students put in an enormous amount of hours. Actual hours: we’re talking probably $40,000 to $50,000 dollars – if we were charging based on hours.”
Smith said this year, the students must complete the project even faster than in previous years.
“The client wants it done with two weeks to spare so [that] it can go through more testing … because of the nature of it and to make sure it’s going to work on their systems,” Smith said. “So, we have to actually compress it a little harder this time.”
Smith said the project provides students with the opportunity to achieve success in their field before they even graduate.
“[It gives] them confidence when they go out and get a job – that they can handle the big projects,” he said. “I really want them to succeed.”
According to Smith, the project is fun for both the students and himself.
“This is a wild and crazy run,” he said. “It’s always interesting to me where minds are going to take different people. … I am always proud of them because of the efforts they put in.”
Smith said the goal in his leadership role for the project is to help people get jobs – the best jobs he possibly can.
“I want them to have much knowledge and much experience when they leave Cameron,” he said. “If I do that and they get jobs, then there’s a satisfaction in that.”

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