The School of Science and Engineering celebrated the official opening of the Talent Incubator in Decker Hall rooms 336 and 336A on January 23. The Talent Incubator, otherwise known as The Cube, will provide engineering students with hands-on experiences, internships and jobs in software engineering.
Dr. Chad Wallace, dean of the School of Science and Engineering, explains the origins of the lab’s unique name.
“We were trying to come up with a name with Ontario Systems,” said Wallace. “We have a lot in common in terms of culture and character. They really like our students. They saw it as incubating that sort of talent, as a talent incubator. When they saw the word ‘cube’ in incubator they came up with the name.”
It was a partnership between AU and Ontario Systems that made the creation of The Cube possible. Ontario Systems is a company based in Muncie that specializes in revenue recovery software. Engineering students will have an opportunity through The Cube to work paid internships or find full-time or part-time jobs with Ontario Systems.
“We’ve known Ontario Systems for quite some time,” said Wallace. “We’ve had several of our graduates go on to work there. The department chair, Dr. Coy, and I have been to visit their facilities before.”
The Department of Science and Engineering hosts a career day every year to which Ontario Systems is always invited. Last year, when the company learned more about some of AU’s other business partnerships, they began making plans to build what is now The Cube.
“The company sends an employee to manage our students here on campus,” said Wallace. “They hire our students onto paid internships where they get to work during the school year on campus under the supervision of a company employee.”
Students who work on the Ontario Systems internship will be tasked with designing and testing software for the company.
“Instead of making a software program that can flip a coin 100 times, they’re building software that’s used in the real world,” said Wallace. “They’re testing that software that’s used in the real world. These are the types of jobs that exist in the real world.
“These aren’t make believe projects. These are projects that need to be completed for these companies, and our students are being trained by their managers to do it.”
Wallace says it’s also important to note that local companies and organizations are paying attention and they recognize the value AU places on its students.
“They see the graduates that we produce, the types of students we have, and they want to hire them,” he said. “It says a lot when a company from Muncie with worldwide connections asks to come to our campus to try to recruit your students.”
As well as internship opportunities, The Cube provides students studying computer science with hands-on learning experiences.
“One of the Ontario Systems employees is helping the computer science department with their senior practicum,” he said.
“Our senior computer science students have a research project. They’re working on some software for Ontario Systems. A manager at Ontario Systems is coming in and teaching our senior practicum.”
Wesley Erny, a sophomore computer science major, applied to work as a software engineer intern at Ontario Systems.
“I had already been looking for an internship,” said Erny. “Ontario Systems seemed like a really good company to work for. Being on campus makes it super convenient. It was something that I just had to apply for.”
Through an internship with Ontario Systems, Erny is hoping to gain experience that he can take with him on his career journey.
“It will give me a lot of great experience for my future job because I’ll be doing real work for a real company,” he said. “I’ll be working in a team. That’s all stuff that will really help me build a foundation for working on a real job in the future.”
Further information regarding Ontario Systems internship applications can be found by visiting https://careers.ontariosystems.com/about/internships/.