Mobile app whiz among computing women to graduate
Simon Fraser University’s Spring Convocation 2012 will take place this week starting tomorrow, Tuesday June 12 with the first ceremony at 2:30 p.m. and two ceremonies (9:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) on each of Weds, Thurs and Friday. For more on SFU’s Convocation schedule as well as this spring’s honorary degree recipients, see http://at.sfu.ca/KvHUWY.
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca
Convocation hometown lists: http://at.sfu.ca/hcrEAR
Vera Lukman is one of just 20 females graduating this week with a bachelor of applied science degree in computing science from Simon Fraser University – that’s compared with 83 males.
But even more remarkable is her promising new mobile drawing application, BitNapkin, which won first place last month in the BCNET Digital Media Challenge, a student competition designed to show the interaction of digital media with networks.
BCNET is a dedicated fibre-optic high-speed research and education network owned and operated by a B.C. university consortium including SFU.
BitNapkin cleverly transforms the familiar practice of drawing explanations on a napkin into a collaborative program that lets users draw and discuss what they’re creating online, in real-time.
She began developing the app a year ago with co-creator and boyfriend, James Lukanta, a recently graduated software engineer.
"Dividing time between school and a start-up is very difficult," says Lukman. Luckily, she heard about an SFU self-directed study course that enabled her to research and develop BitNapkin while earning course credits at the same time.
“It was actually quite complicated and I learned a lot from this project,” says Lukman, who received a research award and several scholarships during her undergraduate studies.
Now she and Lukanta are working feverishly to launch a beta version and commercialize BitNapkin through their new start-up company Flying Jar Inc.
BitNapkin lets users collaborate anywhere visually and verbally in “really real-time,” says Lukman. “You will immediately see every stroke drawn by your collaborators.”
Running a start-up together as a couple is always challenging, and Lukman says she and Lukanat have discovered they both communicate differently. She prefers to use diagrams to explain her ideas, while he likes to verbalize his.
“Through this work, I guess we’ve also learned how to communicate with each other,” she says with a laugh. For more info, visit www.bitnapkin.com.
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