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Home > Spotlights > Undergraduate Student Spotlights > Notre Dame Junior Wins Schurz Prize

Notre Dame Junior Wins Schurz Prize


PUBLISHED: April 30, 2014

Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Mobile Application Development

Sean Fitzgerald, a junior in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, won first place in the Notre Dame-Schurz Prize competition for innovation. His project, Buses, which was among 10 finalists, is an app that provides real-time monitoring for public transportation riders. It uses remote notifications and advanced sensor statistics to recognize when users embark and debark a scheduled bus. That way, underfunded transportation systems can have advanced GPS tracking. This is useful for systems with little funding such as school buses, which provide children with 50,000,000 rides daily, yet do not have a centralized tracking service. The app also provides users with information and promotions from businesses near bus stops. This allows advertisers to save money because they can offer promotions only to people nearby.

Sponsored by Schurz Communications Inc., the parent company of the South Bend Tribune and WSBT TV and radio stations, the goal of the competition is to encourage students to develop digital solutions everyday life.

“This is the third Notre Dame Schurz Innovation Prize contest, so we’re building a history of innovation together,” said Todd Schurz Schurz Communications Inc. president and chief executive officer.

Junior Jonathan Cobian placed second with his app Around the BeND app, which is designed to provide ND/SMC/HC students with a one-stop shop for fun experiences and places to explore in the Notre Dame and South Bend area. Students can find out about weekly specials for local restaurants and bars, as well as information about upcoming events, such as sports and dorm functions.

HelpHub, an app developed by juniors Nikita Amelchenko and George Georgaklis, captured third place. The app pairs campus residents who have tasks that need to be performed with others who are willing to help them accomplish those tasks.

All of the applications were developed as part of a mobile application development course taught by Patrick Flynn, professor of computer science and engineering and concurrent professor of electrical engineering.

Other students who participated in the competition were:
Stuart Colianni, a junior

Confession Aggregator

An application that aggregates information on “confessions” pages for students at specific American universities

Elise Elden and Christine Gerardi, seniors


A safety-oriented mobile navigator based on crime statistics

John Mapelli, senior


An app that turns a phone’s music player into a jukebox that nearby users can control

Rachael Purta, Ph.D. candidate

A continuously running iOS
 app that records audio and supports the NetSense project, which captures the phone usage patterns of consenting subjects

Esteban Rojas, junior


An app that evaluates school cafeterias

Ryan Wheeler, junior


An app that helps new drivers with learning permit log hours, including night hour driving details and routes driven, determine the remaining requirements needed to obtain their driver’s license in their respective state

Alex Yurkowski, senior, and Andrew Bartolini, Ph.D. candidate


A cloud based natural disaster damage logging tool