Testimonial Tree sponsors senior project at Florida Gulf Coast University
May 3, 2023
Estero, FL - Testimonial Tree, a leading provider of customer feedback management software, has teamed up with senior students from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) to develop a customer health dashboard. The initiative was spearheaded by Testimonial Tree’s Director of Engineering and Development, James Gilchrist, who wanted to mentor students and provide them with insights on how to apply their classroom learnings to the real world.
"I wanted to mentor students at our local college because, when I entered my career as a junior engineer, I found that having a mentor was one of the most valuable contributions to my professional development. I worked at companies that did well with mentorship and some that did not. As such, mentorship has become very important to me throughout my career and I want to do my part in giving back to the community,” Gilchrist said.
After consulting with his colleague, Greg Lozada, a software engineer at Testimonial Tree and a 2020 FGCU graduate, they decided to sponsor a Senior Project that would challenge the seniors to create a customer health dashboard that could determine the likelihood of a customer retaining Testimonial Tree based on a combination of various calculated factors.
The idea was pitched to Dr. Fernando Gonzalez’s class, and five groups of seniors applied for the project. After careful consideration, Testimonial Tree selected the team of Alessandra Guerra Delgado, Ethan Kramer, and Patricia Andreica.
During the four-month semester, Testimonial Tree, led by James Gilchrist, mentored the seniors, providing them with engineering development guidance and business lessons. The team met regularly to outline the project, expectations, required metrics, and deliverables. The seniors also met with department heads at Testimonial Tree to gather insights and feedback from them.
“Throughout the project, we had the opportunity to learn more about and apply agile processes, from gathering requirements to creating use cases and user stories to presenting a prototype. Weekly stand-up meetings allowed us to simulate working through sprints, presenting progress to a superior, and receiving constructive feedback. It was constantly emphasized that this was our project, and the Testimonial Tree team was invested in our growth as young software engineers.” Kramer said.
The collaboration resulted in a successful project that not only met the deadline but also brought real value to Testimonial Tree. The dashboard developed by the students allows Testimonial Tree to determine a customer's risk of cancellation based on key metrics, providing an opportunity for proactive engagement.
At the end of the project the students all agreed it was a successful experience on many levels. “Overall, the experience with Testimonial Tree has given me a better understanding of the real-world application of software engineering concepts and the importance of a collaborative and supportive work environment. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such an exceptional team and for the valuable lessons I have learned during this project.” Guerra Delgado said.
“I look forward to leveraging these new skills I have gained as I enter the professional world. I wanted to give a big thank you to James Gilchrist for being the most patient and supporting mentor, as well as the rest of the Testimonial Tree team that took the time to meet with my team and I and answer any questions we had. It was great collaborating with such a talented and passionate group of people, and it makes me excited to be a part of this field.” Andreica said.
The collaboration between Testimonial Tree and FGCU is an excellent example of how businesses and academic institutions can work together to provide students with valuable real-world experience while also benefiting the local community.
“We’re very proud of the work that they achieved. This was our first year sponsoring a Senior project at FGCU and we plan to stay involved for years to come. We already have some really fun projects that we think subsequent senior groups will be able to test their skills and resumes on as they prepare to enter into the professional world.,” Gilchrist said.
About Testimonial Tree:
Testimonial Tree is a leading provider of customer feedback management software. The company's software enables businesses to collect and manage customer feedback, generate online reviews, and promote their brand through positive customer experiences. Testimonial Tree's mission is to help businesses succeed by providing them with tools and insights to improve their customer experience.
About Florida Gulf Coast University:
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) is a public university located in Fort Myers, Florida. The university offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in various fields, including business, engineering, health sciences, and education. FGCU is committed to providing students with a high-quality education that prepares them for successful careers and contributes to the economic development of the region.