“Students, you have survived!” André van der Hoek, chair of the Department of Informatics, cheered students at the Winter Informatics Student Project Showcase on March 18, 2019, applauding their completion of the two-quarter capstone course. He then thanked the sponsors for providing this opportunity for students to build their resumes and put their education to practical use. “I’m forever grateful for all the capstone sponsors,” he said. He highlighted that this experience lets students walk into an interview and say, “not only did I take these courses, but I took the capstone and was working with real clients in real situations and encountering real challenges, and here’s how I personally overcame these challenges.” He explained how that narrative can be the difference between merely landing an interview and actually landing the job.
Informatics Lecturer Darren Denenberg, who teaches the capstone course, agreed. “I’m proud of all the students here,” he said. “Getting through two quarters of this really is a triumph…. There were the standard hurdles and setbacks but there were also a lot of triumphs and accomplishments, and the result of that is what we see here today.”
All 14 capstone projects were on display, and a presentation was given by each of the teams:
- BERT’s Bees developed a website to educate potential customers about EmergaLink, a service offered by BERT — Building Emergency Response Teams (Jacqueline Nguyen, Kyra Eichinger, Breanna Lee, Karen Nguyen, Princess Pancubit).
- Cyrano.UI created an app that analyzes a user’s word choice through affective computing for Cyrano.ai (Katelyn Reyes, Rhian Advincula, Bryson Cateil, Stephanie Doering, Winona Lisuallo).
- FooBar developed a mobile platform for physical therapy company VidPT to provide informative videos and exercises, detailed progress tracking, and friendly competition (Shirby Wang, Kimberly Flores, Nicholas Saba, Amanda Hernandez).
- iACME designed an app that helps connect and manage a network of teaching artists and creative programs for the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity (Zachary Greenspan, Cheri Nadell, Joy Kim, Cindy Ung, Danny Huynh, Anthony Boozan).
- The Interpreters created Project Elevate, a solution to help credit card processing company Agapay support local small businesses and retain customer loyalty (Danny Beltran, Gyulnara Grigoryan, Rodrigo Erquiaga, Yuan Xu, Kenneth Santarosa).
- LogicToTheCore developed a search engine to leverage CoreLogic’s real estate database and allow real estate investors to search through available properties (Tyler Vu, Kimberly Montenegro-Andrade, Kaitlyn Fong, Tyler Valdivieso, Rachel Weber).
- Mentors Anonymous worked with Team Kids to develop an accessible online platform that lets children complete impactful service missions (Alex Ming Chun Chao, Kiana Phaychanpheng, Fernando Ruiz, Eric Tran, Maaz Munir).
- The Money Team developed a mobile app for ID TECH that lets clients manage their own machines from their mobile devices (Roei Ovadia, Nick Schneider, Rohit Sriram, Josh Lopez, Darren Sjafrudin, Jan Christian).
- Rogue Two also worked with ID TECH, creating a mobile web app that lets customers and technicians manage all of their payment devices (Carlos Gutierrez, Claudia Cota, Ramon Garcia, Parker Scott, Lindsey Whisler).
- Taylor and the Swifts collaborated with SendGrid to build a graphical change management system that can handle bounced emails (Kristen DeVore, Joseph Bustamante, Cody Han, Khuong Tiet, Gevorg Gabrielyan, Kenny Matsudo).
- Team Seal Spotters created a mobile app for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center that help users understand proper treatment of marine life, identify common seal and sea lion populations and report resightings (William Than Khaine, Ben Troung, Matt Marano, Lisa Joseph, Liz Thorpe).
- Team Spree built digital tools to help Dreams for Schools improve their internal organization communication channels and productivity (Raymond King, Preston Trieu, Stephanie Phung, Ethan Chang).
- Telewaves developed TelePortal, a web-based application for Telecomprehensive Solutions that supports contractors with client management, network services and process automation (Caesar Venegas, Gabriela Rubacalva, Nicholas Dadeh, Noe Dorado).
- Travel by Design developed an application that provides travel recommendations from multiple reliable resources (Linxuan Xin, Nick Lyu, Caesar Saenz, Thach Diep, Gilynne Ganas, Yaser Albonni).
After the project presentations (see photos and a video of the event), some of the sponsors spoke about the success of the students and program. Lyndea Dew noted that her Travel by Design team “did an amazing job taking on something completely from scratch.” She went on to praise the resulting application’s 90 percent AI accuracy. “Everything they did was above and beyond.”
Brian Anderson of Telecomprehensive Solutions liked how his team dealt with scope creep and “did an excellent job of chunking down the core deliverables.” Scope was also important for Nithin Jilla of Dreams for Schools AppJam+. “We’re really proud of how they built [the project] with the thought of adding more going forward,” he said. Michael Bise of VidPT went a step further by admitting that his team “did a really good job of managing me, because I was the scope creep!” After laughs from the audience, he continued: “They did an excellent job of managing the process and creating something that I’m proud to be a part of.”
Matthew Jensen with ID TECH praised his two teams, noting that they both “stepped up in amazing ways” to produce “great output.” Craig Kausen of the Chuck Jones Creativity Center acknowledged that “the dedication that [my team] had and the fun that they had along the way was inspiring…. Thank you for giving us the team.”
Dave Hamilton of CoreLogic said the capstone course is “a fantastic program” and that the resulting project was “really impressive to see,” while Bill Cunningham of BERT similarly called it “a powerful program” and said he “loved being a part of it.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring a capstone project and being a part of this mutually beneficial program can contact Informatics Professor Hadar Ziv. In fact, some of the winter sponsors have already signed up to participate again this spring!
— Shani Murray