Mobile App Contest Winners Take Home $5,000 Grand Prize: UNM Newsroom

The University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College’s annual mobile app contest is intended to spark creativity in students as they work to develop and design community-based apps.

UNM Chief Information Officer Duane Arruti said he believes it has done just that, while providing students with skills they can use outside of the classroom.

“It is an opportunity for students from both institutions to show their ideas, skills, use of technology, even their presentation skills; skills that will be useful to them in life,” Arruti said.

Students are tasked with creating mobile apps that will work to positively impact the community.

“Our first year we focused on applications that could be used in a higher education institution, said Arruti. “Once we realized that opening it up to student creativity would be key, they started coming up with apps that they thought were important in our community.”

UNM and CNM sponsored the 7the annual event. Students from both institutions participated in the multi-month process. Registration opened during the fall semester of 2019, and 119 students entered the contest.

UNM and CNM faculty supported the coding efforts through hands-on sessions, community engagement, and making development environments available in student labs.

On Friday, seven teams made it to the finals and submitted their applications in front of a panel of judges.

“We have a diverse panel of judges from the community,” Arruti said. “A lot of connections are being made here today and now these students will have the potential opportunity to work with different leaders in the community.”

  1. First Place Winners | $5,000
    ABQ Veterans – Timothy Beck and John Johnson-Rodgers
    Application description: Our goal is to create an app that will reduce the percentage of homeless people and suicide rates among veterans in our community. We created this nifty web application to help connect veterans with the necessary social services and opportunities available in Albuquerque to ease the transition from the battlefield to civilian life.

  2. Second Place Winners | $2,500
    Giver – Samuel Roberts-Baca and Jacob Roberts-Baca
    Application description: Giver is a mobile app optimized for peer-to-peer to find and share community service opportunities through a simple social media interface. The giver relies on the “pay in advance” model: By doing acts of kindness for other users known as favors, users gain the ability to ask for favors for themselves. By presenting users with a plethora of service opportunities, Giver eliminates the need to navigate an unstable web of local organizations and outreach programs.

  3. Third Place Winner | $1,000
    HoMart–Ankit Shah
    Application description: HoMart is a smart home assistant app that helps people in their kitchen. We are so busy that we need our activities to be done instantly or without much effort. Here comes “HoMart” which can help you notify you the amount of groceries inside your kitchen through the sensors that detect the weight and update the changes in real time on the smartphone app. Just set the threshold and if the weight of the item is less than the threshold, the shopping list will be updated in real time. So the next time you go to the supermarket, just take the app with you without having to remember what items you have in the kitchen. HoMart is there to help.

CNM students Timothy Beck and John Johnson-Rodgers said they faced fierce competition and were surprised to win it all.

“After looking at the other apps and all the competition, it was really unexpected that we walked away with the top prize,” said Johnson-Rodgers.

The duo said the contest is a great opportunity for students across campuses to share ideas.

“Web development involves a lot of learning, a lot of problem solving, but it’s a very community-oriented profession,” Johnson-Rodgers said.

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