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MIAD students design apps, customizable face masks to solve pandemic challenges

In a creative challenge competition from the MIAD Innovation Center, MIAD students designed innovative concepts to make life better while facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students created apps, a customizable face mask and illustrations to help them and others cope with challenges they face.

There were three winners and a honorable mention: 

1st place

Paolo Vacala ’24 (Communication Design) created “Weply,” a video conferencing app with innovative approaches to keep students engaged in online classes. “I fully intend to eventually code and publish this app for individuals to download and use,” Paolo said. “I believe that this app could be a great help to alleviating stress and hardships students and teachers are facing right now trying to navigate online learning.”


2nd place

James Klahn ’24 (Communication Design) designed “Tracer,” an app that allows users to see how their community has been impacted by COVID-19 while also providing a way for users to share their mental health, order food/groceries online and sign up to get tested and have results be sent directly to the app.

“This product makes life better in our world during the challenges of [the pandemic] by keeping people connected and offering solutions to problems including direct COVID-19 symptoms to mental health issues,” James said.


3rd place 

Kayla VanProoyen ’24 (Illustration) designed drawable, customizable face masks to show facial expressions. The washable and reusable masks have four buttons for the user to swap out the expressions without changing the whole mask.


Honorable mention

Brady VanderHart ’24 (New Studio Practice: Fine Arts) illustrated a piece titled “Melancholia,” representing the melancholy nature of self-isolation. “I hope that others can relate to this work, reflect on what it was like to be in that isolation and foster a mutual understanding of the hardships we all faced during this incredibly unfortunate circumstance,” Brady said. 






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