FREDERICTON – In a classroom at NBCC Fredericton Campus, learners are huddled in groups around laptops, discussing projects and sharing ideas. They’re also finding solutions for some rising stars in the city’s blossoming start-up community.
The Information Technology: Programmer Analyst class features the next generation of software designers and developers. Phoebe Nguyen is one of the learners getting on-the-job experience while earning her diploma. She recently developed an app for use by Sensory Friendly Solutions, an online database of spaces, products and services for those with sensory challenges.
“I had expressed prior interest in Sensory Friendly Solutions,” said Nguyen. “So it was really good to do something to help the company.”
Nguyen developed an app to collect information related to sensory friendly organizations, events, and products from Google News, then analyze the information. The project used technology outside of the classroom curriculum she had already learned, and gave her an opportunity to give back to the community.
“I want to do something meaningful to help society,” she said. “Someday, I will create an app to make life easier for everyone.”
Sensory Friendly Solutions is the brainchild of Christel Seeberger, who partnered with Dr. William McIver of NBCC’s Applied Research and Innovation department to launch an app that earned her a place among the top five finalists in New Brunswick Innovation Foundation’s 2019 start-up competition. Seeberger has continued her strong relationship with NBCC and, when she needed help, approached the College without hesitation.
“Phoebe’s work has been very helpful,” said Seeberger. “We’ve been able to immediately incorporate some of the results of her analysis into our pitches for investment. The data she gathered is an example of how we can use technology to commercialize our offering.”
HotSpot, a Fredericton-based start-up offering mobile parking solutions across the country, is also benefiting from NBCC student projects. Ethan Steeves, Josh Kleine-Deters and Riley Dunphy worked on the company’s new bus-tracking app.
“This is something they get to help build,” said Nathan Armstrong, Vice President Business Development at HotSpot. “They get to develop technology that solves real world problems.”
For NBCC instructor Bruce McClary, the work his students are doing for start-ups reflects on NBCC’s reputation in the field of applied research.
“I think this is a perfect example of how NBCC can represent our applied research program in an I.T. space,” he said.