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Drexel Opens New App Development Lab with Gift from Bentley Systems

PHILADELPHIA, January 7, 2014

Drexel's new App Lab is located in the Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center
Drexel's new APP Lab is located in the Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center

While many college students are attached to their smartphones, students at Drexel University are just as likely to be spending their screen time programming the next great app. Drexel students have already launched apps that help users explore museums, get involved on campus and even find scholarships.

Now, thanks to a generous gift from Bentley Systems, Drexel has established an Application Development Laboratory (APP Lab) that will provide a dedicated space for students across the university to meet with each other, faculty and external entrepreneurs to collaborate on designing and producing mobile applications.

Housed within Drexel's Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center at the University City Science Center’s 3401 Market Street building, the APP Lab will serve as a resource for students to gain experience in the process of defining, designing and testing apps in a cross-disciplinary learning environment that encourages creativity and collaborative exploration. The lab officially opened at the start of the winter term on Monday, Jan. 6.

“Bentley Systems is pleased to help Drexel University students further develop their STEAM skills (that is, science, technology, engineering, the arts – which apps most definitely require – and mathematics) and ability to work smarter, together, through this newest addition to the ExCITe Center," said Bentley Systems CEO Greg Bentley. "Given the distinctive industrious nature and entrepreneurial inclination of all Drexel students, I believe our world will benefit from their ‘app-titude’ in creatively seeking and applying the advantages of information mobility, whatever career paths they choose to pursue.”

The APP Lab will be administered by the Pennoni Honors College, which will:

  • attract student researchers for the lab through its STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) Scholars program,
  • establish a continuing co-op position for Honors students, and
  • host a grant proposal competition in which students can compete for a small grant to support their proposed apps, among other initiatives.

“The mission of the APP Lab perfectly aligns with that of the Pennoni Honors College: to offer enriched educational opportunities to Drexel’s highly motivated students and to promote interdisciplinary intellectual activity among them,” said Dave Jones, dean of the Honors College. “We are thrilled that the generosity of Bentley Systems has made possible new opportunities for this type of collaboration and innovation.”

The APP Lab, staffed by experienced developers, is equipped with computers and will offer students a library of standard code and data useful to building apps. Current hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit http://drexel.edu/excite/initiatives/applab.

Youngmoo Kim, PhD, director of the ExCITe Center and associate professor in the College of Engineering, will oversee the operation of the lab. He is also on the advisory board that will provide oversight and guidance for the lab’s development. The board is chaired by Harry Vitelli, Bentley vice president, construction and field, and also includes Dean Jones and Ilya Braude, a Drexel computer science and Honors College alum who founded the start-up technology company CloudMine.

“The APP Lab is an important addition to the ExCITe Center, which brings people and resources together to create, connect and collaborate,” said Kim. “Mobile applications are a tremendous driver of innovation, and providing our students with opportunities for increased engagement, exposure, and experience with app development, further empowers them to be creative leaders of the next generation.”

The APP Lab will also sponsor periodic apps-related public events, panel discussions and demonstrations, and showcases for student research and development projects.

About Bentley Systems
Bentley is the global leader dedicated to providing architects, engineers, geospatial professionals, constructors and owner-operators with comprehensive software solutions for sustaining infrastructure. Bentley Systems applies information mobility to improve asset performance by leveraging information modeling through integrated projects for intelligent infrastructure. Its solutions encompass the MicroStation platform for infrastructure design and modeling, the ProjectWise platform for infrastructure project team collaboration and work sharing, and the AssetWise platform for infrastructure asset operations – all supporting a broad portfolio of interoperable applications and complemented by worldwide professional services. Founded in 1984, Bentley has more than 3,000 colleagues in 50 countries, more than $500 million in annual revenues, and since 2005 has invested more than $1 billion in research, development, and acquisitions. Additional information about Bentley is available at www.bentley.com and in Bentley’s annual report.

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Alex McKechnie

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