The University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College's annual Mobile App Contest is meant to spark creativity in students as they work to develop and design community-based applications.

UNM’s Chief Information Officer Duane Arruti said he thinks it’s done just that, while providing students with skills they can utilize outside the classroom.

“It’s an opportunity for students at both institutions to showcase their ideas, abilities, use of technology, down to their presentations skills; skills that will be will useful to them in life,” Arruti said.

Students are tasked with creating mobile applications that will function to positively impact the community.

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

UNM and CNM sponsored the 7th annual event. Students from both institutions participated in the months-long process. Registration opened during the 2019 Fall semester and 119 students entered the contest.

UNM and CNM faculty provided support to the coding efforts through practice sessions, community engagement and making development environments available in student labs.

Friday, seven teams made it to the finals and presented 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.”

ABQ Veterans App
  1. Frist Place Winners | $5,000 
    ABQ Veterans – Timothy Beck and John Johnson-Rodgers
    App Description: Our objective is to create an app that brings down the percentage of homelessness and suicide rates among Veterans within our community. We created this resourceful WebApp 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
    App Description: Giver is a streamlined, peer-to-peer mobile app for finding and sharing community-service opportunities through a simple social media interface. Giver relies up the “pay-it-forward” model: by doing acts of kindness for other users known as favors, users gain the ability to ask favors for themselves. By presenting users with a wealth of service opportunities, Giver eliminates the need to navigate a rocky network of local organizations and outreach programs.

  3. Third Place Winner | $1,000
    HoMart – Ankit Shah
    App Description: HoMart is a smart home assistant app that assists people in their kitchen. We are so busy that we need our activities to be done instantly or without much effort. Here comes “HoMart” that can assist in notifying you the amount of groceries inside your kitchen through the sensors that sense weight and update the changes in real-time on the smart phone 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 next time you go grocery shopping, just take the app with you without needing to remember what items you have in the kitchen. HoMart is there to assist you. 

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

“After seeing the other applications and all the competition, it was really unexpected for us to be walking away with the top prize,” Johnson-Rodgers said.

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

“Web development is a lot of learning, a lot of trouble-shooting but it’s a very community-oriented profession,” Johnson-Rodgers said.