Students across disciplines work together to create New Bedford-based restaurant review app "Downtown NB"
Five UMass Dartmouth students recently published an app prototype named Downtown NB as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. This year, the SouthCoast region’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) was organized by the Charlton College of Business (CCB). The app, which functions similarly to the popular restaurant review app Yelp, focuses on the local New Bedford experience.
"The app aims to help highlight the people, businesses, culture, and history that best represents downtown New Bedford," said CCB student and project leader Brad Ferris. "We wanted to be able to represent UMassD’s involvement with GEW and entrepreneurship as the art form it is while also shedding light on the entrepreneurs of New Bedford."
The idea for such an app came from Assistant Professor of Computer & Information Science Adnan El-Nasan and Assistant Professor of Marketing and Management and Director of Global Engagement Catharine Curran. They had been looking to make a local restaurant review app for a few years prior to its creation.
The creation of the app was a collaborative process, with students from the Charlton College of Business, the College of Engineering, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) all working together on the project. El-Nasan worked with five students – Brad Ferris, Kelly Grodecki, Patrice Strague, Parker Sowersby, and Taha Bin Amer – to build it.
Parker Sowersby, who focuses on User Experience design, is one of the CVPA students who worked on this team.
"This project gave me a chance to work with a computer scientist, which is a vital part of my future career in User Experience," said Sowersby.
The team’s diverse set of majors brought different strengths to the team. Kelly Grodecki, a management major with a concentration in leadership at the CCB, also found that working on the app was a great chance to work with a team and gain experience managing data.
"I was able to get a taste of what it might be like to be a project manager in the future," said Grodecki. "Overall, this experience gave me the chance to work creatively and logistically with a team."
"In regard to working with the other colleges, I couldn’t have been more pleased," said Ferris.
El-Nasan was pleased to see this collaboration between UMassD students.
"It is a real-world experience to develop this product. The students’ skill sets complemented each other and demonstrated how to meld them together for a final goal. It’s a comprehensive experience," he said.
The team hopes to continue to expand the app and begin including restaurants across the entire SouthCoast region.
This story was written by Kamryn Kobel, junior English major and University Marketing assistant.