SWAU Students Update App as Internship

By:
Julena Allen, junior communication major

Two Southwestern Adventist University students have transformed the University’s app, which is now called IAMSWAU.

The two computer science majors, Corey Hansen, a junior, and Elizabeth Nieves, a senior, collaborated together with their boss David Mendoza, senior software developer in the ITS department.  The need of an app update was first presented to Nieves and Hansen as an internship opportunity and eventually was credited to them as a senior project.

New to the process of updating/ creating an app, the two found Google to be of great assistance in helping them understand the framework of Ionic, the software that the app was created on.

“There was a lot of trial and error in building the app,” Hansen says. “It took us some time to understand how Ionic worked so we’d make progress, taking it one step at a time, until we eventually came up with the entire thing.”

The features incorporated in the IAMSWAU app were meant to greatly improve student accessibility, according to Hansen and Nieves. Basing updates on feedback and testing by current students, the updates also provide ease of access for students to log into the app and stay logged in for about two weeks before logging them out, unlike the previous version that logged a person out every time they left the app. It’s user friendly and intuitive. It’s faster and Mugshots is more efficient.  “We also incorporated a feature for the cafeteria menu that will allow the cafeteria itself to easily update the menu,” Hansen says.

 “The app was designed to allow the students to have more important information at their fingertips,” Nieves adds. “Instead of logging into Portal for information or one’s cafeteria balance, they can now find it under their profile in the app. It’s easier and more useful that way.” The app is built for both Android and Apple users and was made available to the public in February.

The process of creating this app update has proved beneficial to both Nieves and Hansen. “I typically like working alone and usually as a CS major I get that opportunity,” says Nieves as she reflected on how this process affected her. “But this assignment taught me the importance of teamwork and patience. It was a good learning experience.”

Hansen adds, “I learned that creating an app is not easy but that tools like Ionic alleviate some of the troubles you encounter in the process. If you want to create an app, use Ionic. I also want to thank David, Ionic, and Stack Overflow for helping us create this app; it wouldn’t have been possible without them.”

The two feel excited and accomplished in working together to create something that is useful for their school. From September 2017 until now, Hansen and Nieves have worked relentlessly to make this app a reality. They are proud of the work they’ve accomplished. The app will still see new developments. 

“It’s a good feeling to know that other people will use what we helped update/create,” says Hansen. “It was fun.”