M&M Program Unveils Facebook App for Pairing Students

A shining star of UF’s IIE organization, the Mentor & Mentee (M&M) program has released its new and improved application in time for the current round of recruitment. Since the program’s inception, students have been matched based on a simple questionnaire that gauges primarily career interests. After gaining inspiration during his summer internship in Silicon Valley working in data analytics, M&M Coordinator Andrew Daw has taken a new twist on how matches are made. While in California, Daw took an interest in how companies such as Facebook and Google use social media to target ads based on users’ interests and thought of a way to apply it to IIE. Thanks to his programming background in Visual Basic .NET, he was able to teach himself basic PHP and Javascript to develop a Facebook app that sheds light on users’ personal interests through the retrieval of Facebook data such as likes and groups associated with a user.

Almost as phenomenal as the innovative application of programming knowledge is the ease of use for members of M&M. A student willing to offer minimal personal information simply signs into Facebook, clicks an icon to add the app, and grants access to view basic profile information, likes, and groups. An email is then sent to Daw listing this information for his use in finding ideal matches. While this app is optional to account for privacy concerns and for those who do not maintain a Facebook account, the completion of a survey is required to ensure that mentees are paired with upperclassmen with similar career interests.

Daw’s work illustrates a creative approach to automate a process that has historically been an arduous task while also significantly increasing its effectiveness at matching students of similar interests and aspirations.

By Erik Hughes, ISE Junior