A woman with many interests, Maria Gosur came to UMSI intending to open her own graphic and web design business one day. Last spring, she reached out to Nancy Benovich Gilby, Ehrenberg Director of UMSI’s entrepreneurship program, to discuss her goals as an aspiring business owner.
“I’m regularly assessing what I want to do,” Maria says. “I’m the nerd with post-it notes all over my wall. I had so many project ideas and Nancy helped me narrow it down to focus on one thing.”
That one project turned out to be something that hit close to home for Maria, who is the caretaker of a family member with a medical condition that deals with short term memory loss. She is required to give medications at specific times throughout the day. Due to her busy schedule, Maria wanted to find a way for the family member to handle their medication without being dependent on her.
“As a caretaker, it’s been stressful for me because I ask myself, ‘am I doing this right?’” she says. “I couldn’t find any online tools to help with managing medications.” So Maria came up with the idea to create a mobile application that could serve as a one-stop-shop to assist people with health management, such as keeping track of their medication schedule and doctor appointments.
From Nancy, Maria learned about an inaugural event called We Make Health Fest. Held last August 16, the We Make Health Fest was inspired by the maker movement and focused on health, technology, and patient-centered design. Maria presented her Medical App Project at the event.
“I got so much feedback; it was so valuable to me,” she says. “Some people didn’t care for it, but I also met people interested in my project. One person approached me about working on the app.”
Since September, Maria and four other students have been a part of the Innovation in Action: Solutions to Public Health Challenges competition. For six months, Maria and her team will be learning entrepreneurial skills and developing the Medical App Project, which they can later pitch for a chance to earn a cash prize.
As a part-time master’s student specializing in human-computer interaction, Maria works as a full-time web developer at Schoolcraft College, as an independent web and graphic designer, and as a part-time college instructor. She takes one class per semester, which she enjoys because it allows her to get the most out of her classes.
“It took me a long time to figure out what school I wanted to go to when I decided to get my master’s,” says Maria. “I didn’t know about UMSI, but when I found it, it was perfect. There’s an energy here and people want to make awesome things happen. I didn’t get that from anywhere else I was looking at.”