RiceApps 2020-2021 Projects 🎉

Jonathan Cai
Sep 25, 2020 · 5 min read

We’re excited to announce our four new projects for the 2020–21 season!

This year, we’ve decided to place a much stronger emphasis on documenting our process and learnings.

Let’s start by introducing our awesome new teams, as well as the problems they’re tackling:

Hedwig’s Logo! (designed by Newton Huynh)

Hedwig 2.0: Food Ordering and Pickup

A web application that enables members of the Rice community (students, faculty, staff, and alumni) to order food for pickup on campus. In the near future, you will be able to order from Cohen House, East West Tea, and other on-campus vendors from your phone or laptop!

Currently at Rice University, there is no online food ordering system for H&D. This means there is no way for one to order remotely and pick up their order at a designated time. Buyers and vendors both struggle with long wait times and miscommunicated orders. Especially given COVID-19 and social distancing measures in place, businesses will not be able to operate as before, which includes having many customers being physically present to place and wait for their orders. This means the volume of customers that they can service will be drastically reduced, which will impact revenue.

A remote ordering system that will allow customers and vendors to continue to operate under socially-distanced guidelines. This allows for everyone to stay safe as we minimize the number of and length of social interactions. Beyond pandemic times, an online ordering system will help minimize wait times, create clarity on menu and pricing, and enhance the food ordering experience overall.

Team Leads: Victor Song, Newton Huynh

Product Managers: Melinda Ding, Nikita Gangla

Team Members: Lorraine Lyu, Vinay Tummarakota, Ananya Vaidya, Angus Jelinek, Brandon Zhang, Henry Qin, Helena Hu, Riley Holmes (Designer)

Clients: Rice’s Housing & Dining, East West Tea

NextStep’s clients

NextStep: PDI (Patient Discharge Initiative)

A collaboration with our friends at PDI to build an SMS-based chatbot to help patients discharged from hospitals!

PDI seeks to connect underserved ER patients with resources that have been shown to drive positive health outcomes beyond the emergency room. Their previous model of connecting patients with resources relied on in-person surveys of patients by volunteers. There were two key issues with this. For one, this model is not scalable (the number of patients that PDI can connect with is a function limited by the total volunteer hours they have access to). On top of this, meeting with patients face-to-face is no longer feasible in the midst of a global pandemic.

The implementation of an SMS text-bot to conduct surveys with ER patients and connect them with the relevant resources. This has the benefits of being both scalable and fully remote — additionally, the rich usage data available from this digital platform will allow for data-driven iteration on the bot in order to maximize patient utility and provide PDI with a better understanding of the patients they work with and how best to serve them.

Team Leads: Janet Lu, Zhihan Lu

Product Managers: Namita Davey, Graham Curtis

Team Members: Shreya Nidadavolu, Quang Nguyen, Ryan Draper, Peter Jia, Willie Yao

Client: Rice’s Patient Discharge Initiative


Second Servings: Helping a Houston Food Bank

Supporting Second Servings of Houston with their logistical needs by building a mobile application!

Second Servings is a food recovery and distribution organization in Houston, currently delivering food to 94 recipient charities, pantries, and kitchens across town. Second Servings makes dozens of calls every day to these recipient organizations, and communicating available food and allocating items to all recipients is a logistical nightmare.

We’re creating a mobile application for Second Servings to better manage their newly recovered food items, recipient organizations, food requests, and notifications to streamline their day-to-day food deliveries.

Team Leads: Myra Ramdenbourg, Muthu Chidambaram

Product Managers: Emily Hwang, Elena Margolin

Team Members: Jamie Tan, Jing Hu, Josie Garza (Dev + Designer), Nathaniel Hejduk, Yi Luo (Designer)

Client: Second Servings Houston

Match’s clients

Match: Intelligent Matchmaking System

Our first client, Covidsitters HTX, is an organization that matches healthcare workers in the Texas Medical Center with student volunteers to help them with childcare, tutoring services, and errand-running. Our second client, Rice’s Center for Career Development, is in charge of the Externship program, which matches students to hosts in the program. Our third client, Hives for Heroes, is an organization aimed at preventing veteran suicide that matches veterans with mentors at beehive centers. The problem we’ve been tasked to solve for these three clients is developing a faster, more efficient way for clients to match pairs together rather than having to match manually, which can be labor intensive considering the rate at which our clients’ services are growing.

Our team is working on developing a web application that allows our clients to easily make matches. Covidsitters and Hives for Heroes will use similar solutions — both upload side-by-side spreadsheets of volunteer and worker data. For CCD, they will upload data, run our implemented match algorithm, and receive organized student matches for each externship.

Team Leads: Adam Zawierucha, Ryan Knightly

Product Managers: Anna Bai, Sanjanaa Shanmugam

Team Members: Yanyu Zhong, Benedictus Utama, Alexis Nicolas, Donglin (Peter) Wang, Manaal Khan

Clients: Rice’s Center for Career Development, HTX CovidSitters and HivesForHeroes


Empowering the next generation of visionary technology…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store