HAMDEN — Quinnipiac University students won $15,000 in prize money at last month’s “Dream it. Code it. Win it.” contest.
Gabriela Gualpa, a sophomore industrial engineering major from Naugatuck, won the $5,000 Prize for Innovation for her web app “Unbreak,” while “Kricket” co-founders Connor Croteau, Stanley Martone and Thomas Nassr led a team that took home $10,000 for placing third overall.
“Dream it. Code it. Win it.” was started by TradingScreen, the MIT Club of New York and The MIT Enterprise Forum of New York City as a contest to celebrate creativity and diversity in the computer-science field.
One hundred college and high school students from across the country entered the contest. Winners were announced April 30.
Gualpa said she came up with the idea for “Unbreak,” which helps property managers more efficiently create and process work requests from tenants, after numerous dinner conversations with her parents. Gualpa’s father, Guido, is a property coordinator for the city of Danbury.
“I listened to the issues and struggles my dad went through,” Gualpa said. “He always complained, ‘I’ve got so much paperwork to do.’ This app makes life easier for tenants and property owners. It allows them to keep track of work requests, such as a leaky faucet or broken door. The app basically cuts out the paper work.”
Gualpa said she intends to use the prize money to make “Unbreak” more intricate and involved and to create a mobile app.
Launched March 1, “Kricket” is a free online service that allows users to send anonymous texts to noisy neighbors asking them to “Please Quiet Down.” Croteau, Martone and Nassr originally created the service to alleviate stress between residents of the town of Hamden and Quinnipiac students.
The prize money will be used to hire two full-time people to improve design and coding over the summer as well as to send the co-founders to regional and international conferences for college and university housing officers.
“A lot of schools are really receptive to the idea,” Nassr said. “There are not too many things like it. We’re trying to move as quickly as possible.”