2015 App Challenge Finalists and Winner


2015 App Challenge Judges


DSC04092 (1)_thumb.jpgAlida Miranda-Wolff
Associate Manager at Hyde Park Angels
Alida Miranda-Wolff is Associate Manager at Hyde Park Angels. Her role includes creating and executing marketing and communications strategies, planning and managing events, fostering and maintaining community and industry partnerships, and managing membership. Prior to joining Hyde Park Angels, Alida served as a manager, data analyst, and publication specialist at a multibillion dollar industrial supply corporation. She has led one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns in Chicago history and worked with half a dozen startups in various marketing, content creation, and project management roles. Alida believes in creating valuable, spreadable multimedia content, and has done so as a freelance writer for several print and online publications.


KDO photo 1_thumb.JPGKarin D. O’Connor, CFA
President, Perimeter Advisors
Karin O’Connor is the founder of Perimeter Advisors, an advisory firm that assists owners of promising mid-market companies with planning and execution of value enhancement strategies, and is also an active investor in and advisor to early-stage companies and entrepreneurs.

Karin recently served as Managing Director of Hyde Park Angles, Chicago’s largest angel investor network and has been a member of the group since 2009.  She has invested in fourteen deals with HPA and served as the group’s representative on the board of portfolio company FeeFighters, which was acquired by Groupon, Inc. in 2012.  She is currently a Director at e-commerce start-up Moxie Jean and also co-led HPA’s investments in Supply Vision and Intellihot Green Technologies.

Since beginning her career at Continental Bank in the 1980’s, Karin has invested in and advised entrepreneurs in a variety of industries that includes financial services, business services, technology distribution, health care, manufacturing, and consumer services.  She has invested at all levels of the capital structure—from senior debt to mezzanine, venture leasing, and equity—and in companies ranging from early stage to mature.

Karin received her BA in Finance from the University of Illinois, where she graduated magna cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  She earned her MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, where she was an F.C. Austin Scholar and was elected to Beta Gamma Sigma.  Karin received a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) charter in 2007.


Untitled1.pngEric Yablonka
Vice President and CIO, University of Chicago Medical Center and Biological Sciences
Eric has over twenty five years of experience in leading hospital operations and information systems management functions. He has served as the Vice President and Chief Information Officer of the University of Chicago Medical Center and Biological Sciences since 2001. His responsibilities at UCMC include all information technology functions, biomedical engineering and the call center. Eric has a staff of over 300 with capital and operating budget responsibilities in excess of $60M annually.

Eric is a member of the Senior Management Group and works with the UCMC Board of Trustees to execute the business strategies of the organization. He has leadership responsibility for the T-2 program whose focus is to transform how UCMC functions and drives operational improvements in the following areas; supply chain and administrative management, clinical care delivery, patient and physician access.

Eric is also a Director for TeraMedica. They are a Milwaukee based company that markets software designed to connect and manage the clinical content infrastructure of a modern healthcare system.

Prior to UCMC, Eric was the Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the Saint Raphael Healthcare System in New Haven, CT. At SRHS, he was responsible for the information technology, supply chain management, process re-engineering, benchmarking and decision support functions. Eric also worked at the JCAHO developing clinical outcome measurement systems, Northwestern Memorial Hospital as a Director in their IS Division, University of Nebraska Medical Center as Assistant Director in Information Services and William Beaumont Hospital as Manager of Information Services.

Eric has been an advocate for innovation in the healthcare industry. He speaks about these topics in industry and technology conferences and meetings. He has written articles for trade publications about technology innovation and adoption. Eric and his organization have also been featured in publications in recognition of their accomplishments.

Eric has been an early adopter of new medical and information technologies. He frequently works with his vendor partners and new entrants to market to understand how their offerings can be of value to his organization.

2015 Grand Prize Winner

Open Macro

Will Clark
Chicago Booth

Open Macro will allow economists and policymakers in low-income countries to have access to the computing power and modeling capabilities at the cutting edge of the economics profession, giving them the tools and resources to make better policy decisions and improve the lives of millions of people around the world.

Before coming to the University of Chicago, Will worked for the InternationalMonetary Fund on building the tools that economists in low-income countries need in order to analyze their countries’ economies. While there, he noticed a problem. Economists need a certain software suite in order to make robust economic analyses, and this software is 1) not affordable for most countries and 2) very difficult to learn to use. This means that economists and policymakers in low-income countries generally do not have access to the cutting edge tools that their counterparts in richer countries use to ensure stable inflation, economic growth, affordable goods, and full employment in their countries.

Open Macro is a tool we are developing to solve this problem. It is a freely available web application built with open-source tools. It relies on an easy-to-use graphical interface so that policy analysts anywhere in the world can quickly learn to use it.

Finalist: Tap

Dave Thomas and Matthew Chen
Department: The College

Tap allows users to annotate audio recordings, making it easy to find that special quote, important lecture point, or funny one-liner without scrubbing through hours of content.

The inspiration for the idea came during a conversation with a physician who was frustrated with his phone’s audio recording applications. He wanted an audio recorder that would let him annotate audio without distracting him from his patients. Intrigued by the problem, we realized that Tap would be an ideal solution for not only this physician but also others audio recording users.

Our mobile application can make a difference because it makes audio recording more powerful while at the same time, more subtle. By doing so, our application allows users to become more effective at note taking.



Finalist: Access UChicago

Stephen Pannuto, co-founder of the Organization of Students with Disabilities
PhD student in the Department of English

During the Spring Quarter Stephen worked with App Challenge developers to build an issue reporting function that will enable users to report an access issue, such as a broken elevator, to Facilities and to share this knowledge with other app users who might also be effected by this issue. We will also be designing a feedback feature that allows users to give feedback on individual buildings in order to collect and aggregate the experience of disabled students, staff, and faculty.



Disability is a fact of my life but isolation is not. I no longer accept secrecy, silence, prejudice, or discrimination. The OSD exists to make sure that no student with a disability at the University of Chicago has to suffer isolation or discrimination. 

Access UChicago developed through conversations with Stephanie Ban, a first-year in the College. The first time we met for coffee we talked for hours – it was the first time she had talked to another disabled person about her experience. As we continued to talk during the Autumn quarter our frustrations with encountering access barriers, navigating campus, and using existing mobile apps coalesced into a seed of an idea.