Thinking Forward

iGoForth: Loyola students excel at first annual mobile application contest

Loyola put students in the drivers’ seat to create mobile apps in the first-annual iGoForth mobile application contest. The competition, named iGoForth for the St. Ignatius quote, “go forth and set the world on fire,” offered undergraduate students a chance to learn how to create mobile apps based on ideas submitted by their fellow students, faculty, and staff.

At the start of the competition there were 13 students divided into three teams. By the end, they were down to two student groups. Team App-solutely, made up of computer science major Joseph Archie, ’13; business administration major Christopher Chomeau, ’13; and communication major Aaron Perseghin, ’13, designed the Loyola Lab Assistant (LLA) app based on the concern that finding an open computer in a computer lab can mean walking to various labs all over campus.

"The CIO has shown off the LLA app to other schools, and they've wished they had something like that," said William White, associate director of web development at Enterprise Applications, a unit of Technology Services. "It was a good idea, well executed, simple and easy to use."

In the end, it was Team RAMM Squad working on the Center for Community Service and Justice (CCSJ) Service Navigator mobile app that won the competition. Four students, computer sciences majors Megan Gansfuss, '14, and Amy Hartzog, '14; information systems major Megan Barrow, '14; and physics major Ruben Ferreira de Carvalho, '16, worked together to create an app that allows students to find available service opportunities on their mobile device. The idea was proposed by Chin-Mei Maniyatt, outreach program coordinator at CCSJ.

One of the biggest challenges the team faced was that two of its' members were studying abroad in New Zealand. 

"We had to find ways to coordinate with teammates in totally different time zones. We went back and forth over design and fixing bugs through email and Skype," said Gansfuss. "In the end, I'm proud that other students will have the opportunity to use something we actually created."

The CCSJ app received 65 percent of the votes and was declared the winner at a ceremony held in the Student Center in early May.

Students interested in competing in the contest heard proposals for app ideas in October and then signed up for the project they wanted to work on. The criteria for a winning app included universal appeal to students, faculty, and staff, and an easy to navigate interface. Once the apps were finished, the student groups set to showcase the appeal of the app to the Loyola community.

"We marketed the CCSJ app through social media, flyers, posters, and digital signage," said Ferreira de Carvalho. "We wanted to make it so that no matter where you went you heard what our app was about and why you should vote for it." 

First place winners received $2,000, second place was awarded $1,000, and $500 went to the person submitting the original app proposal.

Louise Finn, CIO and associate vice president for Technology Services, was impressed by the students' dedication to the project.

"The iGoForth contest has been a real world experience for our amazing students," said Finn. "Each of these apps will have a lasting effect on life at Loyola and on the students that created them. In my book, they went forth and set the world on fire."

The contest will start up again early in the fall semester. Loyola community members can already submit ideas for apps for next years' contest.

Download the app

The mobile applications are currently only available on iPhones. To download the apps, access one of the links below from an iPhone mobile device.