When the pandemic began to take hold in early 2020, Joy Ji Won Oh, a Master of Information Systems student — along with the rest of the world — was at a loss. Could she go to the grocery store? Could she still take public transportation? Attend in-person class?
She spent months comparing information, sifting out its trustworthiness, and trying to disseminate accurate reports.
“By now, everyone is aware of COVID,” Oh said. “But we’re still struggling to get people to recognize how contagious it is, and what action can be taken to prevent the spread.”
Oh pointed to the issue of masks: debates over what type of fabrics are effective and the rising movement against wearing them at all.
“In 2015, the MERS-CoV virus, also known as camel flu, spread across Asian countries,” she said. “Although it was not as contagious as COVID, the fatality rate was much higher. Not many people wore a mask at that time, so the virus had spread quickly. Having experienced the MERS virus, I knew we had to wear masks to prevent COVID from spreading.”
Oh decided to push back against misinformation with education. This idea blossomed into her graduate project: an informative mobile app called “All About COVID-19.”
While the mechanics required for developing an app were outside of her degree program, Oh felt strongly that the idea was worth pursuing. In just a few months, she took the concept from paper to production.
Hosted by the MIT App Inventor, “All About COVID-19” is a hub of information about the virus, organized into menus featuring trackers, general news, and CDC guidelines and updates.
Find this article and a lot more in the 2021 “Student Innovation @ the U” report. The publication is presented by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to celebrate student innovators, change-makers, and entrepreneurs.