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Oklahoma State University

APPtitude Wins the Prize for Ruppert-Stroescu

App WinnerDr. Mary Ruppert-Stroescu, center with certificate, was the first place winner of the 2016-17 From Research to App competition.

For the first time, the annual App Center mobile app competition was opened to entries from Oklahoma State University faculty and staff, along with traditional student entries. The change opened the door to Dr. Mary Ruppert-Stroescu, design, housing and merchandising assistant professor in the College of Human Sciences, who won the contest’s Phase I Best App Idea.

Ruppert-Stroescu’s app, Pattern Master, tackles a clothing design need of university students as well as the wider apparel industry, she said. The app is a tool to calculate measurements for pattern adjustments for apparel and soft goods pattern engineers. Ruppert-Stroescu won $2,500 for her idea “pitch” where finalists sell their idea to a panel of judges.

With new sponsors, the App Center introduced a researched-based theme for the 5th annual event, “From Research to App Competition.” Opening the contest to a wider group of contestants resulted in a record 87 entries, nearly a quarter of which were faculty and staff. The top 10 finalists represented a variety of OSU disciplines including plant sciences, education, communication sciences and disorders, animal science, apparel design and electrical engineering.
“Identifying a problem, conceiving a solution, and then making that solution useful to others, that is what the research enterprise is all about,” said Vice President for Research Dr. Kenneth Sewell. “The App Competition puts that process front and center.”

This is not DHM’s first App Center competition win. In 2015 a team of five interior design students won first place in Phase I for their AccessStillwater App. The app was designed and eventually developed for individuals with disabilities to determine accessible buildings and service in Stillwater.

Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Riata Center for Entrepreneurship in the Spears School of Business, the contest was judged by OSU faculty staff, members of the OSU App Center Steering Committee, staff from the OSU Technology Development Center and Cowboy Technologies, and community technology specialists.

“The app competition gets better every time we hold it!” said Dr. Craig Watters, Riata Center director and a contest judge. “More competitors, better apps, more thought to feasibility, very forward thinking contenders – the competition has become a first-class event.”

Taking second place were John Weaver and Andrienne Sanogo, from the School of Teaching and Curriculum Leadership in the OSU College of Education Their Divisionista app idea provides activities, games, and video instruction to help students, pre-service teachers, teachers, and parents learn how to divide whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and polynomials

The top two ideas from Phase I will move on to Phase II, where app developers on campus will have the chance to form teams and develop a working prototype of the two apps. Phase II will begin in January with results announced in March.
“I was very happy to witness that our students and faculty members used their scholarly and scientific knowledge to help solve problems via a mobile app,” said Jai Hari Rajendran, manager of the App Center. “The quality of app ideas we received this year were phenomenal.”

The OSU App Center is an on-campus resource for mobile app development. The center helps individuals build their app ideas and provides grant funding for app development. For information about the App Center visit https://appcenter.okstate.edu/.