An Entrepreneurial Passion

An entrepreneurial passion and a dedication to community is what drives the How Bout Now (HBN) team. With a desire to empower communities through a social networking platform, team members Arrion Archie, Devin Devlin, Brandon Micale, Jacqueline Puga, and Adaly Solis have spent the past year working on an entrepreneurial project that combines engineering knowledge with a social justice focus.

"The motivation was to uplift the Black community as there is a lot of stigma for mental health services in the Black community and other minority communities," says Solis, a senior at the University of San Diego studying electrical engineering. "Given [that] 65 million plus people in the United States have a mental health condition from moderate to severe, HBN is developing a culturally conversational chatbot designed for all individuals to improve mental wellbeing."

On May 7, the HBN team presented this capstone project at the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering annual Engineering Showcase. In addition to this event, the HBN team recently competed in the USD finals event for the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge (GSIC), taking home $5,000 in seed funding and qualifying for the June Global Finals.

For the team, this is only the beginning, with plans to continue pursuing this entrepreneurial venture. "My main drive into this project was really ... that the project’s vision was well-aligned with my values," says Puga, a senior studying mechanical engineering. "I felt that through this project, my mission to be a Changemaker at USD would be fulfilled."

— Allyson Meyer '16 (BA), '21 (MBA)