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November 16, 2023

Univ. of St. Joseph partners with VR firm for computer science, math training 

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED  Rhona Free, president of the University of Saint Joseph, wears goggles and gear for a demonstration on how virtual reality technology can be used in healthcare training, with assistance from Shawn Kennedy, who works in VRSim’s production department.

The University of St. Joseph has a new partnership with an East Hartford-based company that provides virtual reality as a tool for teaching students.

The company, VRSim, uses computer simulation programs to help train people for jobs in the trades and health care. The tech can teach students who are learning to be welders, industrial painters, nursing assistants, first responders, emergency medical professionals and more.

The West Hartford-based university anticipates virtual reality can help train students in several fields, particularly in computer science, mathematics, science and nursing.

As part of the partnership, VRSim’s CEO Matthew Wallace and Software Development Manager Alejo Fudge are leading a series on gaming and simulation software.

Wallace also will join the university’s computer science board to represent his industry and provide advice on how the university should modify its curriculum.

Tom Calabrese, an associate professor of mathematics and computer science, said successful programs in the computer science field in particular require strong industry partnerships to expose students to the real-world applications of advanced technology.

“Considering how the need to build real-time simulations is projected to grow, our interest in these areas is considerable,” Calabrese said. 

Wallace said the company will be actively involved with the university for years through the partnership. He anticipates it will bring more student focus on gaming, modeling and virtual-reality based simulation, benefiting both the university and the business.

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