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Alkek Technology Day

Thank you to all the volunteers and the 250 participants that made Alkek Technology Day a huge success!

Congratulations to all the participants in the 360-Minute Innovation Challenge! Seven teams of undergraduate students were challenged to design a solution to transportation issues on college campuses using technology. Scroll through this page to see their innovative ideas and check out our photo gallery to share in the fun from all of the day's events.

***Winning Team - VR 2020***

Safa Aboudaoud, Senior, Engineering Technology

Meyra Arizpe, Senior, Engineering Technology/Environmental Science

Esmeralda Ontiveros, First Year, Undecided

Brandon Welch, Senior, Accounting

Proposal: Virtual Reality Classroom.

The team proposed bringing people to campus by offering classes virtually through Oculus virtual reality headsets that could be used by commuters and individuals with mobility impairment to bring the classroom to them through wifi connections. The team proposed that the costs associated with the technology could be offset or covered through advertising that could be included in the virtual reality environment similar to what might be seen on other technology applications. The revenue generated by these advertisements would help pay for the technology costs.


Alkek Technology Day

Winning team members: Brandon Welch, Meyra Arizpe, Esmeralda Ontiveros, Safa Aboudaoud
360-Minute Innovation Challenge Winners: Brandon Welch, Meyra Arizpe, Esmeralda Ontiveros, Safa Aboudaoud

Teams and Proposals

Innovation Grey

Designed a collaborative transportation service app for Texas State called Commuter Cats that would allow use of Texas State Mobile App for a student ride-share program. Drivers and riders would register through the app. Riders would pay a small fee and drivers would receive monetary campus benefits and an unrestricted parking pass.
Team members: Samantha Casler, James Helgren, Allison Hornbeck, James Helgren, Kaityn Lee, Chelsea Payton.

On Demand

Developed a plan for an autonomous self-driving bus system that would use artificial intelligence, tech learning and machine learning. The team proposed taking commuter behavior data from the city of San Marcos, running it through a computer program so that the system would learn without having to be explicitly programmed. The team proposed using the Texas State Mobile App to notify the system that riders are ready to be picked up. The buses would respond based on demand. Commuter parking lots will be added around the city so that commuters could easily access the system.
Team members: Alina Jaffer, Jose Martin Meza, Mandi Renae Palencia, Steven Wendel


Presented an idea to create a dedicated EMU monorail system around San Marcos that uses solar energy and encircles the San Marcos campus making frequent stops at student housing areas. The team explained environmental benefits, integration with existing shuttle system, and timeliness of the system as the factors that made this a worthwhile venture. They proposed use of university property, low-fuel costs and available grant funding as a way to offset the costs associated with the system.
Team members: Blake Anderson, Robert Levitt, McKenna Strain, Anthony Young

Flee N' Free

Proposed an innovative parking assistance app that would be an extension of the Texas State Mobile App. Users would be able to access a map that shows where to find open parking spaces on campus as indicated by counters set up in each parking lot. Students who pay a convenience fee for the app add-on, could reserve open spaces using their phones once they are within a short distance away from campus. 
Team members: Karina Contreras, Joel Ferguson, Annaleah Longhway, Erikka Polk, Desmond Workhoven

Cats Commute!

Recommended a ride-sharing service that would guarantee drivers using the service a parking spot on campus and the opportunity to earn income in a manner similar to Lyft or Huber. Riders would pay a low fee based on usage. The interface would be through the Texas State Mobile App.
Team members: David Crowe, Janeth Gonzalez, Lyzet Nava, Garrett Martin, Allison Spitzenberger

Stick Figures are Underrated

Suggested using virtual reality that uses smartphone technology to bring the classroom to the student rather than having students commute to campus. This economical solution would include the use of a "chat" feature for connecting with students and the professor in the classroom. This would be a solution for those commuting from long distances.
Team members: Patricia Castillo, Matthew Hebert, Josh Newell, Holly Nguyen, Jeffrey C. Slocum

This event would not have been possible without the hard work, dedication and can-do attitude of the committees and volunteers who made it happen in less than eight weeks. 

Thank you, one and all!

Alkek Technology Day Recognitions

Planning Committee

Dr. Janet Hale, McCoy School of Business

Professor Grayson Lawrence, Art & Design

Stephen Frayser, Science Technology and Research Park

Twister Marquiss, Common Experience

Cedrik Chavez, Student Representative

Dr. Nathaniel Dede-Bamfo, University Libraries

Dr. Andrew Rechnitz, University Libraries

Liz Sisemore, University Libraries

Jessica McClean, University Libraries

Joe Fuller, University Libraries

Scott Ayers, Division of IT (Marketing)

Debbie Pitts, University Libraries 

Sponsors: Texas State IT Division, Greater San Marcos Partnershiip

Hosts: University Libraries, Common Experience

Workshop Instructors: Nathaniel Dede-Bamfo, Sean Justice, Jon Zmikly, Sasha McKay, Grayson Lawrence

Challenge Mentors: Stephen Frayser, STAR Park; Cara Ryan, Greater San Marcos Partnership; Jeff Zhao, Materials Applications Research Center

Challenge Judges: Jana Minifie, McCoy School of Business; Jason Mock, San Marcos Chamber of Commerce; Rex Steele, Small Business Development Center




Mentors and Judging Andrew Rechnitz, Stephen Frayser  
Student-Faculty Planning
Committee (Problem Development
Debbie Pitts, Grayson Lawrence

Janet Hale, Cedrik Chavez,
Nicole DesChamps-Benke, Elizabeth Slusher

Student Outreach Committee Janet Hale, Jessica McClean  
Registration Liz Sisemore Debbie Pitts
Event Support Joe Fuller, Katie Davis Debbie Pitts
Publicity Scott Ayers, Debbie Pitts, Twister Marquiss Paul Collins, Ed Temple,
Steffanie Agnew, Nick Dunlap, Rebecca Ormsby
Technical         Team   Scott Ayers, 
Debbie Pitts  
Dean Brennan,
Chris Nelson,
Reb Thomas,
Eric Garza                                
First Floor Display Tricia Boucher, Debbie Pitts Kris Toma,
Andrew Rechnitz,
Hithia Davis,
Joe Fuller


Other Event Volunteers

Rory Elliott, Tara Spies Smith, Elizabeth Cowan, Laura Lizcano, Robyn Herry, Tricia Boucher, Mavis Klemcke, Veronica Mazuca, Emily Segoria, Donna Dean, Liz King, Karen Cowen, Scott Pope, Connie Hackney, Amanda Cerillo, Megan Ballengee, Jacob Carter, Kiana Harden, Daniel Blanchart. Special thanks to Priscilla Hernandez for making sure we got our T-shirts on time! And to JaNelle Barnes and Joan Heath for supporting this crazy idea.


Texas State Common Experience Texas State Division of Information Technology logo Texas State University Libraries Greater San Marcos Partnership


Texas State Common Experience

Texas State Division of Information Technology logo

Texas State University Libraries

Greater San Marcos Partnership