In a challenging and rigorous environment where making meaningful connections can be difficult, Womenexus is an app specifically designed for women to empower one another. Womenexus would be a one-of-a-kind program focused on creating a virtual community of women to help guide and support others through career goals and adversities in life. This app would create a safe space for women to connect with other women. At the University of Colorado, Womenexus would provide a platform for women to build friendships and mentorships while navigating college, whether it be prior to arriving on campus or while in the middle of their studies. In the College of Arts and Sciences, this can include guidance in pre-medicine and pre-law pathways, along with shadowing and internship opportunities. The app could be expanded across other colleges, helping students with networking. For instance, students at the Leeds School of Business could connect with individuals from large companies. Women from any discipline at CU can learn from the experiences of others who have gone before them in their prospective fields.
Womenexus is unique because women can post about their lives and match up with others who have similar experiences. Women are more likely to leave the premed track than men, and 50% of women feel isolated in college. This is an app designed to have women be there for other women at the touch of a button. Womenexus is designed for women ages 18–26 looking for discreet, accessible outreach. We are focused on privacy, safety, inclusivity, support, and building a kind community for women. The app will be moderated using a dual system utilizing software that immediately bans users who harass or break user guidelines, along with a human mediator who will ensure the safety of users. This app can break the geographical barrier, helping women form meaningful relationships with peers and mentors.
Womenexus is revolutionary because it encompasses several features of existing apps, such as profile swiping to match with friends and mentors, private chatting, and open discussion forums into one app with the sole purpose of helping women. Differentiating from other known apps such as Discord and Reddit, Womenexus will be able to match similar women together, forming an online community. We would begin app development with the swiping feature, which makes Womenexus unique. Later, the app would grow into a fully functional platform with chat rooms and discussion forums. There is no other app that exists like this on the market. It is easy to use from anywhere at any time and avoids the social anxiety of in-person interactions.
Women experience a multitude of challenges throughout their lifetimes and often are forced to navigate through these without an adequate support system. College can be lonely and isolating, and this app would provide a safe space to connect with others and receive advice. Additionally, out-of-state students often arrive without knowing any others. An app could be useful for students to network prior to arriving on campus while also navigating all of the new changes that come with moving. Womenexus would facilitate the development of new online connections that would later build into in-person friendships and communities. This would provide women with a support system to help with inevitable challenges. Females, in particular, face additional gender adversities. An accessible support system at school can be extremely helpful, especially when family and other friends may be far away.
Stakeholders and Needs
The first key stakeholder is the innovation fund along with all of its valuable mentors. The innovation incubator can help further progress app research and development to make it the most beneficial for our target audience. Additionally, they can help facilitate building and distributing app development surveys and navigating university guidelines. Next, we are working closely with Blueprint Boulder, a group of computer science and engineering students at CU who are excited to develop an initial working prototype for Womenexus. In addition, the University of Colorado could be a partner in this app’s use and promotion. The app would be managed by Sage, Hannah, Sydney, and Dr. Park. The final app would be created and continuously updated by continuing Blueprint Boulder students.
Womenexus is designed to help female undergraduate students feel more connected and part of a larger community. It provides a digital platform where women are able to help guide and support others through career goals, academic goals, and adversities in life. It would serve as a supportive group where women are safely able to discuss academic and personal concerns. Women would be able to match up with others who have shared experiences in order to gain insight and advice. It would also facilitate networking to build connections, friendships, and mentorships, improving the overall college experience.
Sydney, Sage, and Hannah have resiliently overcome challenging experiences, including an abusive relationship and the loss of a mother and friend. During these grave times, they wished they had an unbiased support system. Dr. Park, being a young female professor, sees the necessity for accessible career and life advice. They are all women in the College of Arts and Sciences, which is particularly susceptible to gender segregation. They will help kickstart the app’s development and promotion. Sage has business experience that helps with the human interaction and promotion of the app. Dr. Park has advanced problem solving and research skills, applicable to the app’s development. Hannah and Sydney are both analytical and detail-oriented, helping to carefully design an intricate app. All of these skills together create a diverse, knowledgeable team.
Ultimately, we plan on positively impacting every female student who attends or works at CU. We plan on primarily targeting women in the College of Arts and Sciences and later expanding to other colleges at CU. We would market to incoming students, but upperclassmen would have the option to be involved in the app as well. Over the course of the next three years, we would expect to see 13,000 students at CU impacted by our app, Womenexus. Eventually, we hope to exponentially impact women at universities all around the nation.
Funding Request and Intended Use of Funds
Before a prototype app is developed, students would take an initial survey to give feedback on design, formatting, and appeal. These students will be reached by posting QR codes around campus, giving the survey to A&S professors to distribute to students, and contacting various student organizations to help with promotion. The innovation incubator would aid us in survey distribution, ensuring that we meet campus guidelines. Later, students will take an additional survey on the prototype. Students would be paid for taking these in a raffle style, with prizes totaling $1,500. Blueprint Boulder offered to design our prototype app for free given that we set aside $15,000 for meeting necessities and other costs over the entire duration of the project, including app maintenance. Hannah, Sage, Sydney, and Dr. Park would each be paid $3,500 per year for promotion and management of the app during the three years. $6,500 would be used to promote the launch of the final coded Womenexus app made by Blueprint Boulder.
Anticipated Long Term Needs
The app will need updates and additional features that will be designed by Blueprint Boulder students throughout its development and use. Additionally, our team, along with CU, would need to promote the app to incoming students. This app will be self-sustaining, and once it takes off, it will powerfully impact many women in the CU community and beyond.