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MDX Enactus team's AI assistant App to boost student mental health shines at Tech4Good competition

Business and Cybersecurity students call for peers to join them to develop platform, which signposts NICE-recommended digital therapies

Five students, male and female, in business gear standing in a row with a Tech4Good competition judge standing on the rightMDX Enactus Society students were finalists in a contest sponsored by software company SAP at Enactus UK’s National Expo in April, and have entered a further competition with their commended project.

The four students - Francisca Chinwe Ndiwe, Ojaswani Rawat, Jean-Didier Anatole Schneider and Christopher Arun Scott – used AI to create an App that offers students a bespoke and accessible overview of extra-curricular activities at MDX. The objective was to offer a resource that would boost student mental health, with international students particularly in mind.

The App grew out of a MDX event where some of the students who are studying on different programmes, had the opportunity to meet. “We went to it - throughout the event we were connecting,” says Chris Arun Scott, a third year BSc Project Management student. “We suggested why not use AI to integrate into the mental health space? We decided to meet up a week later and figured out how to do it”.

Wanting funding to develop their work, they signed up to SAP Tech4Good, which was looking for a project that had a local environmental impact. “Mental health is a big thing” says third year BSc Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics student Ojaswani Rawat. “The aim of the App is to be a ‘social friend’ to get people started – that’s how we wanted to impact the environment”.

The team convened a Hackathon with students and staffs from across MDX's global campuses in London, Dubai and Mauritius, and expanded the content of the App to include digital therapies recommended by NICE.

At the competition, where they presented to 20 SAP executives, the Enactus students were struck by the experience and ambition of teams from other universities, and got feedback from the judges about how to progress the App. They were supported by MDX Eco-Entrepreneurship lecturer Dr Chris Moon, who set up the Enactus Society in 2019 and has been the driving force behind a range of sustainability events and competitions at MDX.

“The competition gave you an eye-opener about what the other universities are up to,” says Ojaswani. “The most interesting thing was how these projects have been going on for a few years. They've already brought in finance. That gave us a boost of motivation - we could be on the same level”.

The team has now made a short video, to enter a separate competition run by insurance group AIG. They would like more students to come on board, to bring fresh ideas for further development of the App.

Four students and MDX lecturer Dr Chris Moon sit around a table smiling at the camera. The photo is a selfie taken by the student nearest the camera, who has dark hair and is wearing a red tieOjaswani, who brought the team IT know-how, has been a Student Learning Assistant (SLA) during her time at MDX and worked on the Fika and Miindset wellbeing Apps. She enjoyed the opportunity to get to know peers in the SLA team from programmes across the university.

She’s hoping to do a six-week summer camp project in Edinburgh after graduation, before pursuing job opportunities. About studying cybersecurity and forensics, she says: “One thing I love about the skill is how flexible it is. You can work anywhere - everyone needs security. I'd love to get involved in [different] fields and see how it goes”.

Chris did the first two years of his degree at MDX Mauritius, his home country. Having always attended international schools, with friends from all around the world, he knew he wanted to study abroad, and he is at home in the diverse environment of London. “I love cities, I'm always keen to meet everyone, I like talking” he says.

He’s on the tennis team and has been working in hospitality during his degree, where he says he has been learning lots about communications from how his managers and restaurant leaders deal with customers.

He considers MDX academics teaching his course not just lecturers – “you have a bond with them” – and he values their industry experience. “They’ve all done projects related to real life situations on what they're teaching us. They've helped us with finding jobs”.

"Everyone at Enactus UK has been incredibly impressed with the project submission from Enactus MDX for the Action4Impact Project Incubator and AIG challenge," says Enactus UK Chief Operating Officer Amy Brereton. "Their approach, dedication, and commitment to creating positive social change is fantastic to see. Congratulations Enactus MDX for what you’ve achieved already – we look forward to seeing your continued success!’

Enactus is a global movement supporting students and young people to engage in social action and social enterprise activities. It oversees some 1600 projects and runs more than 2000 campus programmes in 33 countries. All projects have to contribute towards one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Enactus’ UK chapter currently involves more than 3,500 students across over 60 universities. MDX has had an Enactus Society for the past four years; a MDX team entered the full competition for the first time in 2021, winning an Overcoming Adversity Award. This year’s Enactus World Cup will take place in Utrecht in October.

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