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Computing Ph.D. Student Wins President’s Award at Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge

Topi Popoola, a Boise State Computing Ph.D. student won the President’s Award at the 2020 Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge, selected by Dr. Marlene Tromp. The challenge was hosted by the Boise State University Venture College on April 3rd.

Below is an excerpt from a report on the event written by Anna Webb, Boise State University Communications and Marketing.

This year’s event offered new features, including the President’s Award. Boise State President Marlene Tromp recognized DermCare, headed by Tobi Popoola, a doctoral candidate in Boise State’s computer science program. The DermCare app, already up and running with 1,500 users in Popoola’s native Nigeria, connects people who have medical ailments with qualified doctors. The need for the app is urgent, said Popoola, in a country where it’s common for people to get incorrect medical advice from pharmacies, or even from friends – sometimes endangering their lives. The app also lets patients pay their medical bills remotely.

Pitching his idea online during the competition was tough, said Popoola. There were a few technical snags, but he praised the event, including coaching and practice offered by the Venture College and associate director Ryan Vasso. Popoola was a runner-up in the health and wellness track. Winning the President’s Award was a surprise, he said.

“Living and studying in Nigeria was really tough. I would stay up late sometimes, working without electricity, and in the heat. To get recognition is great. It validated my hard work and the effort I put in.”