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Graduating Seniors Work Together to Develop Mobile Application

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – APRIL 28, 2014Four friends meet from different parts of the city, come up with a great idea and plan a summer road trip to develop their piece of the large technological pie.
It sounds like the premise for a reality show, but it is the reality for four University of Texas at Brownsville students.
UT Brownsville students Luis Garcia, Jesus Hinojosa, Alberto Mata, and Juan Loera in their caps & gowns.
Brownsville seniors Alberto Mata, 21, a senior physics – biophysics major; Juan Loera, 22, an engineering physics major; Luis Garcia, 22, an accounting and marketing double major and Jesus Hinojosa, 21, a physics major, are planning for their graduation at Spring Commencement  at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 10 on the Student Union Lawn and shortly after a summer in the Washington, D.C. area.
Mata will do research related to gravitational waves and CubeSats, small satellites used for aerospace research, during a summer-long internship starting Monday, June 2 at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Mata will also work with Loera, Garcia and Hinojosa in and around the Nation’s Capital as they network with start-up ventures and freelance programmers to develop a mobile-social application with the purpose of connecting people who want to make lunch plans. It would utilize location-based technology to unite people, for now, only in the United States. China is first in the world in the number of mobile telephone users with 1.1 billion consumers while the United States is third with 310 million users, according to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Fact Book.
“Our software is an evolving idea that resulted from our team’s effort to disturb the location-based social networking space as we pursue our entrepreneurship dreams,” said Mata.
Currently Garcia is leading the effort to conduct market research on what consumers could desire from using the mobile application. They are also receiving assistance from the university’s Business Incubation and Entrepreneurship Center to commercialize the software.
“Our aim is to create an innovative and truly unique experience that our users will value,” said Garcia.
The students primarily work on their software from mid-evening to before sunrise because this is the time when they are together and have completed their academic work for the day. They taught themselves about mobile application software by reading books and drew from previous experience in classes.
The group’s goal is to have a beta version of the mobile application ready for launch by the end of the summer on both Android and iPhone. The group wants to base the mobile application, and any future entrepreneurial ventures, in Brownsville.
“After a beta version, we take feedback form our users and improve the application and repeat,” said Hinojosa.
Each student has a role in their venture: Mata is the Chief Operations Officer, Hinojosa is Chief Technology Officer, Garcia is Chief Marketing Officer and Loera is an Associate because he joined the venture a few months ago. Mata, Hinojosa and Garcia are also Chief Executive Officers.
“We make decisions using common risk-analysis techniques as well as a proprietary method we derived from physical interpretations of human intelligence; but put simply, we vote,” said Mata.          
Some of the group already had connections before their partnership.
Mata and Loera went to Brownsville Hanna High School together, while Garcia and Hinojosa sat next to each other in band class at Brownsville Porter High School.
Mata and Hinojosa both worked in the university’s Arecibo Remote Command Center operated by the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Science, Mathematics and Technology. Mata, Hinojosa and Garcia were University Scholars.
And during their sophomore year, Mata, Garcia and Loera started a university paintball club called Ocelot Paintball.
“It was the first time we worked and accomplished something together,” said Mata.
Loera said his time at UTB has been memorable.
“I decided to attend UTB because I saw great potential in enrolling in the engineering physics program. I will not miss the late night studying but I will miss great people I met at the university, including three great professors: Dr. Fitra Khan, Dr. Yong Zhou and Dr. Sanjay Kumar,” said Loera.


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