Time Stamps:

Introduction (Problem that we tackled): 00:00 - 01:00

Project name and type: 01:00 - 01:15

What is the project about?: 01:15 - 01:55

Demo of project: 01:20 - 02:06

Potential Impact of the hack: 02:20 - 02:38

What is something you would like to add to your hack? 02:52 - 03:08

Challenges that we overcame as a team: 03:11 - 03:40

Inspiration

Mentorship helps people progress in organizations and their careers, narrows the opportunity gap and reduces diversity churn. It plays an oversized role for people from minority backgrounds (be it ethnic groups or the lgbtq+ community) by having someone who can vouch for you in rooms that you can’t access or didn’t know were available. However, most mentoring models and thus mentors today, assume generic mentees with little concern for those groups that are under-represented in their respective fields.

That is where CounselConnect comes in. It aims to connect students and young professionals from such groups with seniors from similar backgrounds as them, so that there is a deeper level of understanding and connection between the mentor and mentee.

What it does

CounselConnect is a web application that aims to help mentees from underrepresented minority groups to find mentors who share similar backgrounds and experiences. Based on a user's predefined parameters and requisites, the app uses an algorithm to match them with mentors with shared experiences. The app provides them with top 3 choices of matches. The student may view the mentors' profile and pick a mentor. The app also provides functionality for them to talk via in-built text messaging, where it automatically creates a new room for dms.

Features

  • One can sign up as a student or as a mentor volunteer.
  • The app matches student and the mentor based on certain preferences and parameters decided by the student themselves.
  • A student can switch between anonymous and parameter-based matching, to further reduce any scope of bias
  • Once connected with a mentor, the student can also chat with the mentor inside the app itself in a chatroom.

How we built it

Frontend

  • Vanilla JS/HTML/CSS
  • Bootstrap
  • Node.js
  • Express.js

Backend

  • Firebase

Challenges we ran into

We ran into trouble constructing a chat system with our actual database in order to connect the mentor and mentee together. Since we'd never used Firebase it was definitely a huge challenge. We had to hardcode somethings since we ran out of time but we were able to code quite a bit of the functionality.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud to have come up with a novel idea that could help the communities that we ourselves belong to. It always feels good to give back. Designing and coding the various components of the app in under 24 hours (we started late) was a huge challenge and we're happy we could do all of this.

What we learned

We learned how to prototype an entire app in Figma, which was a very knowledgeable experience. We are a bit more comfortable with firebase and react now.

What's next for CounselConnect

We hope to attach all of the functional components to the site and complete the UI stretch goals that will make the app look more polished. We would also like to implement a machine-learning algorithm to make better matches using text-matching or clustering. Further functionalities that can be added:

  • Video-calling feature
  • Adding more security to profiles on both ends
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