Twenty-four UC Merced teams demo mobile apps at Innovate to Grow

Twenty-four UC Merced teams demo their mobile app design skills at Innovate to Grow showcase

On  May 13, student teams pitched their mobile apps before a panel of esteemed judges at the annual Innovate to Grow showcase event. The 5th annual CITRIS Mobile App Challenge Demo Day, which took place during UC Merced’s Innovate to Grow showcase, culminated with a celebration of the students’ progress throughout the semester and the presentation of awards to the following teams: DRYVE and UpNote.

  • 1st place award of $5,000: DRYVE
  • Runner-up award of $1,000: UpNote

Originating at UC Merced in 2011, the CITRIS Mobile App Challenge empowers undergraduate and graduate students to develop mobile apps for social impact while fostering innovation, community service, and career development. Guest speakers, industry mentors, and peer networking help students move rapidly from idea to prototype over the course of a semester.  

At the start of the Spring 2016 semester, 24 teams and 90 students joined the Challenge to design, build, and pitch their ideas in the following categories:

  • Connected Communities
  • Sustainable Infrastructures
  • Health
  • People and Robots

Congratulations to all of the 2016 Mobile App Challenge and Innovate to Grow participants! We also thank each of our judges for their support of this innovative program:


  • Mysty Rusk (SBDC)
  • David Needham (Oportun)
  • Luanna Putney (UC Merced)
  • Ryan Durant (PG&E)
  • Jason Hallett (Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc.)

Final Winners

First Place award: DRYVE

About DRYVE: Carpool made easy for college students.

Why it’s cool: Parking is becoming an issue as our school expands to meet the 2020 Goals, especially since CatTracks is not the most convenient option. DRYVE allows students to help each other get where they need to go, in a quick and easy way.

DRYVE team: Alexis Chen Xu, Jinnabelle Garce, Vraj Parikh, Miguel Lopez

Runner-Up award: UpNote

About UpNote: A continually evolving app that provides students with important information tailored specifically to their classes. They streamline the studying process, highlighting on what students need to excel in class. Students determine this by up-voting the best notes posted.

Why it’s cool: The app has a super modern and clean UI/UX design that perfectly packages the content, which is: study guides for students, by students.

UpNote team: Kyle Oldham, Kristofer Kline, Navvaran Mann, Austin Mittman

Semi-Final Winners

  • DRYVE – Most Environmentally Aware
  • UpNote – Best Design/UI
  • ConnCat – Most Market Ready
  • Craze – Best Pitch / Demo / Poster
  • Vital – Most Safety Oriented

About the Semi-Final Winners:

Most Market Ready: ConnCat

An events aggregation app that aims to bring the community together through one convenient platform.

Why it’s cool: UC Merced is a new campus in what was previously a small town. Finding fun activities can be a challenge. But by parsing and aggregating through event posts on: happenings, CatLife and Facebook, they help find the events right for you.

ConnCat team: Justine Chuang, Michelle Zhou, Raul Nunez, Punnawit Tokhem

Best Pitch/Demo/Poster: Craze

A mobile app that allows a user to gain valuable feedback on their daily outfit decisions, whether they are going to an interview or need help deciding
what to wear to a specific event.

Why it’s cool: This team provided an amazing pitch that understood the current market and utilized classic advertising. The job market is hard to break into for a recent college grad, and choosing what to wear can be even more difficult. Why not get the opinion of the peers you trust?

Craze team: Chukwudubem Nweke, Jay Poovakan, John Hayes, Andreas Anderson

Most Safety Oriented: Vital

This app will be the central hub for healthcare information and Patient-doctor communication.

Why it’s cool: Would-be patients are not always aware of how the healthcare system works. With existing sites, such as “webMD”, it is understandable that any symptom can be interpreted as a life-threatening illness. But this app helps bridge the gap between patients and doctors, and eliminates that shadowy area of the unknown.

Vital team: Adrian Hernandez, Luis Elizalde, Nestor Eteodor-Chave

Meet the 2016 Teams

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