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Signature Performance Partners with Raikes School to Support Veterans in Crisis

In the heart of Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management lies Design Studio, an immersive experience for students to navigate challenges alongside industry-leading experts. Over the course of eighteen months, Signature Associates have partnered with students to innovate a solution to a critical problem in our line of work: Veterans in crisis.

“Design Studio community partners are generous with financial support and their willingness to share their talent, time, and expertise to provide an experiential learning opportunity for our students. Partners provide a real-world problem for the students to solve,” Cheryl Nelson, director of Design Studio, said.

As an industry partner for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years, Signature collaborated with teams of students to engineer a call-flagging, artificial intelligence service for suicide detection. Ultimately, the project’s goal was to decrease response times, streamline transition time, and produce better health outcomes for callers in crisis.

“Our mission is to provide the absolute best service to our customers, so if any Veteran is showing any suicidal risk we can connect them quickly and effectively to a crisis line,” Mason Younger, solutions architect, said. “I have never worked on such a noble project with the mission we defined that falls right in line with Signature’s vision.”

Melding experience with innovation, Signature Associates well-versed across a range of subjects supported students over the course of Design Studio.

“One of the unique offerings that Signature provides to students is company-wide support. All of our teams have been very engaged, and students could see and feel what it’s like to work in a good company culture,” Jossy Rogers, Project Manager III, said.

Building upon a strong foundation, this year’s team carried the project into the final production stages by adding sentiment analysis, Microsoft Teams messaging, and most importantly, scaling the infrastructure to work with a magnitude of concurrent calls.

“I have had a great opportunity to mentor these students and expose them to our core values,” Mason said. “Students bring an incredible amount of technical expertise to us that keeps us at the forefront of technology without distracting from our core business functions.”

Signature Associates united with students from multiple majors and diverse backgrounds to develop problem-solving techniques and best practices for Artificial Intelligence applications. The 2022-23 student team consisted of Caleb Burbach, Kellen Carney, Carl Olson, Matt Radlicz, and Colin Safford. As this project spanned two academic years, we would also like to recognize the 2021-22 team of Joey Carrigan, Charlie Floeder, Devin McGuire, Vishnu Menon, and Tom Walton.

“Working with Signature Performance in Design Studio was a life-altering opportunity that inspired me to do good in the world,” Tom Walton, a 2021-22 Design Studio student, said. “At each step of development, we faced seemingly insurmountable challenges; however, the support we received from Signature pushed us beyond what we thought was possible.”

Signature’s investment in Design Studio has enabled the employment of advanced analytics, business automation, and natural language detection strategy in Experience Center operations. To this end, the team debuted a real-time call flagging system that employs a deep neural network to identify Veterans in crisis and alert representatives to such a crisis.

“You are bringing together computer science, business, and innovation. It is inspiring to see the work that comes out of it,” Jossy said. “The work they did for Signature is groundbreaking.”

In addition to solving complex problems, students develop cutting-edge technology and project management skills that accelerate their success in the workforce during the Design Studio programming and partnerships. Signature continues to be inspired by the students joining the workforce with interdisciplinary skills and a drive to create business value, and we are eager to empower success for the next generation of Design Studio projects.

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