In their first few weeks at MSOE, freshmen Honors students Mac Williams, Braden Everson, Christian Zastrow and Matthew Schulz jumped into action to help HIR Wellness Institute complete and launch a mental health app. HIR Wellness is a non-profit organization that provides free mental health, wellness and victim advocacy services to the indigenous and underserved communities of the Milwaukee metropolitan region. 

The app allows HIR Wellness employees to create new events and list their date, location and time. Then, users can log into the app and view upcoming events, sign up, chat with other members and get notifications from leaders. “This app helps individuals connect to professionals for free,” said Zastrow.

Each team member played a different role to ensure the project was completed on time. Zastrow served as the team communicator, Everson and Williams were the primary developers, and Schulz worked to organize the various moving parts and ensure the team had the resources they needed. The team was proud of the ground they were able to gain in a few short weeks.

“Within three weeks the team went from first-year students trying to memorize our schedules and find our classrooms, to creating a fully functional app with support for multiple devices and a full cloud implementation,” said Williams. “We truly went from not knowing each other’s names to working together and trusting each other in just a couple of weeks and we have an excellent product to show for it, which I believe is a good showcase of the MSOE Mindset.”

Not only were they proud of their work, the team was thrilled their app will positively impact community members. “Knowing that something I have helped create will be able to help other people is an utterly amazing experience,” said Everson. “The idea that I will have been able to potentially help so many people in this community is a really unique feeling.”

The group shared the app has potential to expand to other organizations. “I am confident that this initiative will not only grow substantially, but also extend its reach to places like college campuses or other communities where raising awareness and addressing mental health concerns is crucial,” said Zastrow.

The students presented their work during an event on Sept. 29. This was only their fifth week of college. “Needless to say, I am pretty proud of them,” said Dr. Michael Carriere, Honors Program director and Humanities, Social Science and Communication faculty member.