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Student Designs Mobile Game App for Department of Energy

Student Katharine Uvick, a computer science major in the Robert E. Cook Honors College, is working as part of a team of interns across the country to design a mobile game app for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Katharine Uvick

Uvick worked 20 hours a week during the summer on a team of about 20 students. They were charged with designing the game, creating artwork, and programming the game for iPhones and Android smartphones.

The game, as yet unnamed, is meant to appeal to players who are interested or work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

Players act as secret agents, linking buildings and energy resources on a map. The game provides a puzzle that roughly simulates the energy challenges the Department of Energy faces when conducting research and creating policy, Uvick said.

Production is still under way, but the team plans to release a public test version of the game in October.

Like the game, the internship has taken place in the virtual world of computers, providing Uvick with still more learning opportunities.

She and her teammates communicate via Skype video calling and Adobe Connect Web conferencing.

“I’m used to working with people in person, so it was an adjustment,” Uvick said. “But [Web conferencing] lets you have access to people with different talents in different parts of the world. This experience showed me the things companies will face.”

Uvick has earned numerous IUP computer science awards, including the Howard Tompkins Scholarship, the Merck Data Structures and Algorithms award, the PPG Database Management Systems award, and the Raytheon Software Engineering award.

She is also an active member of the Computer Science Student Advisory Board, Computer Science Club, and Environmentally Conscious Organization.