Safe Trek partners Natalie Cheng, Zach Winkler and Zach Beattie tour Microsoft corporate headquarters in Redmond, WA. The winners of the 2013 Reynolds Journalism Institute Student Competition advanced their new business while visiting the main campus of Microsoft Corporation in suburban Seattle last week.

Zach Beattie, Natalie Cheng and Zach Winkler have created Safe Trek, a public safety app for mobile phones that improves upon the seldom-used blue light systems on many college campuses. Beattie is majoring in business at the University of Missouri. Cheng is a dual major in business and journalism. Winkler recently earned his computer science degree from MU.

Team Safe Trek took the top prize in the sixth annual competition created by RJI to foster interdisciplinary responses to challenges in journalism, advertising and community engagement. This year’s contest focused on mobile apps featuring the Windows 8 operating system. RJI opened the first-of-its-kind Microsoft Application Development Lab (MADL) at the Missouri School of Journalism last fall.

Beattie, Cheng and Winkler each won a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, as well as an all expenses paid trip to Seattle.

Their tour of the Microsoft campus included talks with Senior IT Evangelist Chris Avis, Developer Evangelist Jeremy Foster and MSN News Editor Jennifer Myers (a 2006 MU journalism grad). Foster gave team Safe Trek a detailed critique of their app and their business plan and offered access to additional Microsoft resources as they prepare their app for public release.

They also met with Josh Lory, a developer at Microsoft and a member of the winning team in the 2011 RJI Student Competition. The team’s mentors accompanied them on their Seattle trip: Mike McKean, director of the RJI Futures Lab; Reuben Stern, Futures Lab print and graphics editor; and Tyten Teegarden, RJI lead developer and MADL manager.

This week Winkler is following up the Microsoft visit by presenting the Safe Trek app to the annual Missouri Law Enforcement Conference at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Related links

  • Public safety app wins RJI student competition
  • New Microsoft Application Development Lab for Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

Mike McKean  
Associate Director


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