A native of Fremont, California, Kevin Shen is an ambitious junior at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering who enjoys asking questions to solve the world's problems. Shen, a computer science major, recently won the USC Global Health Case Competition - a contest that brings together teams of students from all disciplines to tackle critical global health challenges.
A panel of judges awarded Shen for his FluTrack application, which compiles, analyzes and distributes data based off of hundreds of thousands of mobile devices within underdeveloped countries. By using FluTrack, doctors and scientists will be able to accurately identify pneumonia outbreaks, discover breakthrough vaccinations and detect other problems significantly faster than they can today.
Shen and his team will fly to Atlanta, Georgia, to compete in the International Emory Global Health Case Competition against students from around the world. Shen attributes his success to the experiences and lessons learned while co-founding Everlist, a social app that encourages users to try and experience new things.
Prior to USC, Shen never considered studying computer science. It was not until he took a class last year with professors Ashish Soni and Jay Samit, called “Building the High Tech Startup,” that he realized the potential of his major. Working alongside co-founder and recent graduate Ted Hadjisaras, the two built Everlist within two months and have plans to launch this summer. Under the guidance of both professors, Shen and Hadjisaras successfully developed their project. Shen's team expanded with the addition of three new associates: Alex Park, Ryan Cleary and Gabe Audick.
When asked how the startup experience has impacted his life, Shen said it helped him realize the importance of confronting challenges, staying humble, and being an active learner.
“A part of the reason that I participated in the USC Global Health Case Competition was to see if I could apply some of the skills and lessons I had learned from Everlist . . . to dive deep and learn as much about something as possible, while also being able to come up with solutions,” he said.
Shen continues to seek adventure through his projects with Everlist, and plans on using his experience with Everlist and FluTrack to pursue a rewarding career in computer science.