Thursday, March 9, 2017

URSP Student Kristine Mosuela Develops an App to Incentivize Bike Riding at Universities

Up until this semester, my idea for an app to incentivize bike riding in a university setting was just an idea. I worked on the design, and did research to better understand the opportunities and limitations of the app at Mason in particular. I knew what I wanted the app to do, but did not know enough about the tools to make it happen for actual users, until this semester.

This semester, I teamed up with a talented group of Applied IT and Computer Science students (Pictured: Kristine Mosuela, Kevin Izadpanah, Joe Lartey, Tri Nguyen) to make this app jump off the drawing board and into the hands of real users. We have just started our development phase, but we already have an understanding of how the various elements of the app work individually and how these elements will work together into one cohesive app. At least every week we look at each other’s work and give each other feedback until we make each component operate. Even though I am not directly developing and writing code like my Applied IT and CS teammates are, I am learning how the app development process works and how a front-end idea manifests itself into back-end functionality.

I may be a civil engineering major, but I find interdisciplinary teamwork to be inspiring and relevant for the future of all of our respective industries. I came up with the idea for the app out of my passion for environmental sustainability and my understanding of multi-modal transportation networks in this area. In our warming world, today’s problems are not just civil engineering problems, and they are not problems that can or should be solved by civil engineers alone. Apps are one way to engage and interact with not only professionals from various disciplines but with the general public.

On a personal level, by working on this interdisciplinary project, I engage and satisfy both sides and all parts of my brain. The liberal arts lover in me gets to practice community building, project management, and business administration. The civil engineer in me enjoys using my analytical skills to help develop pseudocode. Both of them relish the moments when one discipline bleeds into the other, for example, when Applied IT students learn something from CS students, and vice versa. I look forward to this kind of teamwork and problem solving as we go forward, not just with our app development now but further into our future careers, too.