April 10, 2015

‘Saluki App Competition’ winners announced

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill.  – The results are in for the 2015 Saluki App Competition at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  

SIU students or student-led teams submitted 10 creative app entries for the third annual contest. The entries included a virtual book club, games, apps to connect people with gym partners or share pictures and videos. Online voting determined the winners of the Popular Choice awards while a panel of judges selected the other winners.  

Winning apps in the judges’ choice category, along with the names of the creators and a brief description of the apps, are: 

First place

  • Snap Pile, an app by Jeremy Packer, a senior computer science major from Metropolis who is founder and CEO of *LifeAtSouthern. It allows users to write down code segments, select a language, snap a photo of the code piece with the app, and then save, compile and email code segments directly from mobile devices for future reference. 


  • Flappy Speedway Challenge, a game app by Patrick Mcray (a senior criminal justice major/Africana studies minor from Chicago who is vice president of EaSi Games Inc.), Noah Leverett (a junior math education major from Carbondale) and Arvind Srinivasaraghavan (a senior business management/political science major from Carbondale who is CEO of EaSi Games Inc.) It’s a game that encourages participants to maneuver quickly through an obstacle course.
  • Tawking – Android keyboard, a “smart app” by Justin Dial (a senior information systems technologies student, hometown unavailable) and Nathan Davis, a doctoral student in historical studies from Murphysboro. The app helps users generate conversations more quickly in an online platform. 

Winners in the People’s Choice category included:

First place

  • Tawking (254 votes), by Justin Dial and Nathan Davis


  • Flappy Speedway Challenge (236 votes) by Patrick Mcray, Noah Leverett and Arvind Srinivasaraghavan.
  • Book-O-Holic (228 votes) a social network platform created by Mohammad Alabandi, a senior computer science major/business administration minor student from Al Qatif, Saudi Arabia. The app essentially acts as a virtual book club and also includes a book sale feature. 

This is the third year in a row Packer has earned a top award and he said he appreciates the doors SIU and the competition have opened for him. 

“This competition has helped me launch my first app into a scalable business and I am glad we have opportunities like this on campus,” Packer said. 

Also competing in the 2015 app contest were:

  • EXE, an app by Gary Tippin, junior cinematography major from Union, Mo., that gives a new look and depth to photos.
  • Gym Pals, an app by Sanli Brandmeyer, a master’s degree student in communication disorders and sciences from New Baden, that helps gym users find suitable workout partners.
  • O!NK, a social media app by Alek Bergman, a freshman aviation and fight management major from Des Plaines, that enables users to upload photos and short videos from a device camera directly to an area database.
  • RECmates, an app that connects people with others interested in similar sporting activities, created by Utsav Dhungel, a freshman computer science major from Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • RunTheDale, an app by Randall Brownlee, a senior information systems technologies major from Chicago, that promotes health by making exercise more convenient and fun by connecting people with places and other people for workouts and running,
  • Squirrel -- Career Fair Facilitator, an app by Geovane Piccinin, an information systems major, hometown unavailable. The app helps students more effectively locate companies and distribute their resumes at career fairs. 

Judges included Lauren Siegert, digital advertising director for The Southern; Tom Harness, entrepreneur and owner of Harness TechEd; and Amy McMorrow Hunter, technology transfer specialist with SIU. The Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, with Rodrigo Carraminana as director, coordinated the event. Ouadie Akaaboune, graduate assistant, served as event organizer. 

Sponsors of the competition included SIU’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities, the Advanced Coal and Energy Research Center and Saluki Ventures. 

The Saluki App competition is just one of the many Creative Saluki Week activities at SIU celebrating and highlighting the university’s student scholarly and creative activities.