This May, when most Ivy Tech students were celebrating their graduation, James Anunda (’21) was also celebrating the launch of his latest tech collaboration, Naxos OD. The one-of-a-kind phone app aims to prevent opioid overdoses by connecting people to lifesaving intervention and is the result of student work across Ivy Tech campuses under the leadership of Ivy Tech instructors. But James isn’t done.
James grew up in Fort Wayne and even as a young person he was drawn to computer technology. “From day one, it’s never changed. I knew what I wanted to do and I stuck with it. I never even changed my major.” He graduated from Ivy Tech in May of this year in the Informatics TSAP Program, earning credits he will transfer to Purdue Fort Wayne School of Polytechnic’s Information Technology program this fall.
Ivy Tech’s convenience and affordability is what brought James to Fort Wayne’s campus, but he also found some unexpected gems along his journey. “My favorite part about the Informatics program was the people. I met some amazing people. The instructors were great, especially Lucy La Hurreau.”
James’ education also connected him to critical hands-on experiences. Along with four other students from across the Ivy Tech system, James participated in AT&T’s FirstNet Hackathon. This intensive contest brings together software developers from across Indiana to create mobile apps that assist firefighters, law enforcement, and emergency management services. Developers worked non-stop over 24 hours to create mobile apps addressing public safety, the opioid crisis, and improved engagement between first responders and the communities they serve. The Ivy Tech team won first place in “Best App for the Opioid Crisis” and second place in the “Best App from a Student Team” categories, taking home a total of $7,000 in prize money.
Out of this competition came a company, Naxos Neighbors, and mobile app Naxos OD, which anonymously connects opioid overdose observers with a trained neighbor responder who can quickly administer naloxone in a matter of minutes. Responders can also provide addiction resources and support for the person in need. With the opioid crisis claiming more than a thousand Hoosier lives per year, this app has the potential to literally save lives.
Although he didn’t expect it, the experience of taking an app from conceptual stages to physical implementation has changed the scope of James’ future with Naxos OD’s parent company, Naxos Neighbors, as it became an official limited liability company in 2021.
“We really developed the company a bit on a whim,” said James, “We were like, let’s see what happens, and we ran with it. Frankly, it’s going so well we haven’t looked back. We did beta testing in May and our next steps are launching in August. Between now and then we’re basically working out the last-minute bugs.”
Though James is now a software engineer for Naxos OD, he’s still pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Fort Wayne, with a goal of working for the federal government as a software engineer or IT specialist. He equates his level of success to his time at Ivy Tech. “Lucy and Kris Roberts impacted me the most during my time at Ivy Tech. Lucy was with us at the Hackathon. She saw how deep I was in it. She knew I was a man of many hats, but participating in the Hackathon showed me that I had a lot more talent in software development than I thought I did.”
As James moves onto his next adventure, he encourages students to network with those closest to them. “Make friends. Network with people. Talk to your instructors. You never know how much of an impact they will have for you down the road later on. But the biggest thing is if you have an opportunity to build something, take it and run with it. Even if you crash and burn, it’s the experience that counts.”
To learn more about Informatics and other IT programs at Ivy Tech Fort Wayne, visit IvyTech.edu/informatics.