UST Staff and Students Collaborate on USTmoji Project
By Brittani Wright
Let the emoji sending begin! University of St. Thomas’ Office of Marketing & Communications collaborated with the Math and Computer Science department to create the first UST branded emojis. Lenny the lion, St. Thomas Aquinas and other UST logos and icons are part of this dynamic feature that can be downloaded onto any iPhone and Android device.
The project, USTmoji, was created by Jorge Rodriguez, marketing manager, and Giselle Yeung, graphic designer.
“It started with the Encounter magazine,” Rodriguez said. “Giselle was asked to create cartoon versions of the president. I sat down with the VP of Marcom, Jeff Olsen, to see how we could use these images as emojis. I know that a lot of schools have branded emojis, and we wanted to move the needle forward in a bold way.”
Designing the emojis was an easy task for Yeung, but the coding to create the app was the missing piece to the puzzle. Dr. Carlos Monroy, assistant professor in the Math and Computer Science department, was approached to assign one of his students the resume-building project.
Christophe Nhut, a computer science major, raised his hand to code this project.
“This is the first time that I have worked on stickers,” Nhut said. “I was excited to work on a project to add to my portfolio and enhance school spirit. The most difficult part was navigating through the differences in iOS and Android. They are very different and very picky about what is uploaded to the app store. It felt very rewarding when I got through the challenges, I was understanding iOS and Android systems a lot better. I have never released anything that I have done to the general public, so it’s a bit crazy.”
Enhancing UST Spirit
“What started as an informal conversation,” Monroy said. “Has turned into a production-quality app, both for Android and Apple iPhone and iPad. Christophe will be teaching app development for the Celts Computing Club this fall. The process was smooth and successful. I am planning on applying it to ongoing projects that we have with the City of Houston, and explore new opportunities within UST and elsewhere.”
Designs are currently being created for holidays and graduation. Yeung and Rodriguez are also discussing a campus contest for students to create new designs to build community spirit.