Computer information systems student places second in Pitt app challenge

For the second year in a row, Joel Austin, a computer information systems and technology major, has placed second in the University of Pittsburgh's Mobile App Challenge.


            Austin, a junior from Sewickley, created an app called DormStack to serve as a centralized social network for each individual residence hall on a university campus.


             The University of Pittsburgh's Computing Services and Systems Development department sponsored the contest for students on all five Pitt campuses. Austin placed second from among dozens of entrants in the “Code It” category, which required him to build a working prototype of his app that functions on a mobile device.


            He won a prize of $2,000 in Amazon gift cards.


            Austin said that he designed the app for use in large residence halls such as those on the Pittsburgh campus. Using the application, resident assistants can create a community where students can read important posts from an RA and see events and RSVP to them.


            “Using DormStack is much better than hanging a flyer in the hall to make students aware of events,” Austin said. The app can post photos along with events, and it is easy for students to join by using a QR code and their phone's camera.


            Last year Austin teamed up with fellow CIS&T student Gregory McKibbin to create an app called BABL, which helps students find someone with whom to practice speaking another language. That app also placed second in the Mobile App Challenge.