The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Student Spotlight: Anirudh Valiveru

By Staff Writers Nishi Bhagat & Nithika Valluri

Inspired by his struggle to find clubs in freshman year and passion for programming, Senior Anirudh Valiveru started developing an app last spring to prevent other MSJ students from encountering the same problem. 

Valiveru has gained a deep appreciation for the art of programming which stemmed from his elementary school involvement in the First Lego League. This led him to explore the field of computer science through machine learning, app development, and algorithms to pursue personal projects like apps for taking notes and making to-do lists.

Using Xcode and Android Studio, computer programs for app development, Valiveru created his first large scale programming project, Mission Connected. With 700 authenticated users currently, the app allows students to view an updated list of current MSJ clubs, which they can subscribe to and receive meeting and event updates. These updates are posted by the club officers who can keep track of the number of club members and individuals who respond to each event, overall creating a hub for club-to-member communications.

Pictured above are Xcode and Android Studio, two computer programs that Valiveru used to develop Mission Connected.

While designing the interface of Mission Connected, Valiveru drew inspiration from Reddit’s home page. “The way that the Reddit app looks is that, there’s a [bar at the top], which shows a bunch of the top posts, so I thought that would be a great place to have a list of all the clubs that you’re currently a part of,” he said.

The interface of Mission Connected includes a Dashboard, a “My Clubs” page with specific details, and a “Publish” page for club officers to publish events & meetings.

Valiveru said the most challenging parts of programming the app were the initial stages. “I had to sort of teach myself Android … to get that running … I think that was probably the biggest challenge that I had. But it was also really helpful to learn how the different aspects of app development combined,” he said. 

As Valiveru irons out the app’s minor bug fixes, he is constantly looking to implement new features. One of Valiveru’s goals is to alleviate the hassle that comes with the process of club formation.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the process to start a new club required getting 200 print signatures, creating a club constitution, and signing contracts, which used up large amounts of paper.  To adapt to virtual school, ASB has converted the club formation process online, with google forms for signatures and virtual meetings for council. On Mission Connected Valiveru hopes to add a feature where people petition for their club through the app itself to simplify the process even further.

During the second semester of his senior year, Valiveru aims to form a team to take over the project after he graduates. Valiveru said he is looking to find people who have a similar passion for using software development to help the community. Ultimately, his goal is to ensure that no freshman is left saying, “I was too scared to join,” as he said when he was a freshman trying to explore his interests. 

Beyond his work with Mission Connected, Valiveru anticipates that his next project will enhance foreign language learning. He wants to create a flashcard system that automatically translates words from the web browser to help reinforce the vocabulary aspect of learning a new language. 

Visit the Mission Connected website here

Cover Image courtesy of Anirudh Valiveru

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