App artist

Name: Lydia Hlebasko
Major: Computer science
Minor: Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program
Year: Junior
Hometown: Brownsburg, Indiana

Accomplished undergrad: Lydia is an outgoing and energetic student who enjoys combining her obvious talents in computer science, art and entrepreneurship.

Creating tools for students: Lydia worked with Information Technology at Purdue’s Informatics group developing the Android app for the new educational technology, DoubleTake. The application will allow Purdue students to shoot video and share it with instructors and classmates. The goal of the app is to make turning in and grading video as easy as turning in paper assignments. “The most difficult part was incorporating video inside an app,” Lydia says.

Function isn’t everything: Lydia says it’s not enough for an app to function properly — it must also have visual appeal and what she calls ‘flow.’ “With mobile apps, both the coding and the aesthetics are important,” she says. “The aesthetics are important for the user experience. If an app doesn’t have good graphics, it’s not worth installing. Including both functionality and design in the app is like solving a puzzle.”

Helping others with tech: Lydia also leads a team developing mobile apps for Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS). Her team is developing an app that will provide nutritional information about meals if users simply take a photo of what they are about to eat. The app was requested by the Technology Assisted Dietary Assessment project. “It’s very cool being a part of this huge research project,” she says.

Favorite apps: Lydia’s busy life requires that she stays organized. Her favorite smartphone app is Pocket Informant, a calendaring app that allows her to color-code activities to stay on schedule. She also enjoys games such as Plants vs. Zombies and Solitaire.

Other interests: “It’s a long list,” Lydia says. When not inventing new technologies, Lydia enjoys archery (she’s a member of Purdue’s archery club), baking, quilting and sewing. “I made a Jedi costume for my sister for Halloween,” she says. Lydia also is active in Grace Campus Fellowship.

Future plans: “After I graduate, I would like to work for Purdue and continue developing apps. Later, I would like to start my own company in the Purdue Research Park and work with Indiana companies to develop apps and technologies to help them succeed.”

By Steve Tally