Key questions likely on the minds of most Florida Tech students just got a lot easier to answer. What’s on the menu at Panther Dining Hall? How quickly can I contact the Rathskeller to order a pizza? Where amid the dozens of washing machines on campus is one that’s available right now?
Well, that last one may not be TOO key of a question.
But answers to all of them, and access to essential campus resources from security and tutoring to Panther cash and campus activities, are available via a new, student-designed app called Go Panthers.
It was designed by ResKit Labs, a company started by senior software engineering major Harold Raghunandan.
“We have a lot of students, and they don’t necessarily know about everything on campus,” said Cat Nanney, director of student involvement. “With this app, it’s all in one spot for them.”
The app is actually the second Raghunandan has developed.
His first one, ResKit, was designed for RAs, or resident assistants – which he was at the time. The app began as ResTech, Raghunandan’s capstone design project, then morphed into ResKit. The app was strong enough that, with the help of Director of Residence Life Jaqueline Hetherington, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Florida State University both agreed to pilot it on their campus. This summer, Bryan College in Tennessee purchased a subscription to the app.
The boost was one of many ways Hetherington helped, Raghunandan said, describing her as a tireless mentor and supporter during his three years as a resident assistant.
“Over the past three years she has been connecting me to the necessary resources that I need to succeed in my career, and she continually provides me with valuable feedback that enables me to be the best at what I do,” he said.
About a year ago, Raghunandan surveyed the multiple apps designed for students and, knowing how well his ResKit app was received, figured something that consolidated all of them into a simple-to-use system might be popular, as well.
“’We have this app that does everything for RAs,’” Raghunandan said he was thinking. “’What if we make one for the whole student body?’ That kickstarted the idea of the Go Panthers app.”
Raghunandan also had some help by this time.
Sydney Richards, a senior majoring in software engineering, became part of ResKit Labs last year and has helped with coding, the rollout and marketing of the apps, developing app websites, and key design issues.
“The goal with the Go Panther app was to make sure all of the information was as accessible as possible,” she said. “In the first version, it wasn’t as easy to find. So we improved the display, added a search feature. We thought that would be helpful especially for freshmen – we have this information all centralized, so let them get to what they need as quickly as possible.”
Both Richards and Raghunandan talked about how this experience helped enhance the strong education they are receiving at Florida Tech.
“Mobile apps are different from a lot of what we learned in class, but we had a good basis in coding and that made it easier to learn,” Richards said.
Raghunandan agreed. “We got a great foundation in coding here, and our experience with these apps has added layers on top of this foundation.”
Next up for ResKit Labs: building an app for F.I.T. Aviation that will feature the information and materials needed by flight students for their training.