When the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Providence wanted to improve patient care, it turned to a team of URI engineers, including students Keerthi Suryadevara and Karen Roman. Working with Professor Valerie Maier-Speredelozzi, Keerthi and Karen arrived at the VA with a clear directive: examine dozens of systems and find ways to run them faster, better and more cost effectively.
From engineering and business to textiles and chemistry, URI students have developed business plans for non-profit groups, redesigned products for local manufacturers, marketed energy conservation programs for a utility company, and contributed to new product development in several industries.
Using the principles of lean manufacturing developed at Toyota, they sought every opportunity they could find to eliminate waste at the hospital and save money. Keerthi and Karen led hospital staff in workshops about lean techniques and how to apply them from the hospital pharmacy to the operating room. Time and time again, they found seemingly small problems that, when combined, caused a seismic cultural shift at the medical center.
This is the kind of hands-on, real-world project you’ll engage in at URI, no matter what your academic discipline. From engineering and business to textiles and chemistry, URI students have developed business plans for non-profit groups, redesigned products for local manufacturers, marketed energy conservation programs for a utility company, and contributed to new product development in several industries.
Now our students will have even more opportunities like these, thanks to our new Business Engagement Center where local businesses can recruit employees, seek help with special projects, and collaborate with faculty and students in numerous ways. Students will also benefit from the relocation to URI of the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center, which provides a variety of services to help entrepreneurs start new businesses.
While both programs are primarily designed to support the business community and boost economic development in the state, they both will also ensure that students will have increasing numbers of opportunities to put their classroom knowledge to work and find solutions for local companies.
It’s the perfect way to hone your skills, add to your resume, and demonstrate to future employers that you are already well versed in real-world problem solving.
At URI we really do give you the business.
Pictured above: URI engineering students Keerthi Suryadevara and Karen Roman with Professor Valerie Maier-Speredelozzi at the VA Hospital.