Connecting Across Generations

On March 13, 2020, the coronavirus pandemic sent UT students home packing. The remainder of the spring semester would be spent online, distanced from their peers and professors and faced with a new, unexpected challenge: social isolation. But Texas Engineering students Aditi Merchant and Allen Zhou confronted this challenge head on. Alongside Allen’s brother Anthony, a high school senior at the Texas Academy of Math and Science, they spent their extended spring break developing Big and Mini, a platform that connects youth (Minis) and senior citizens (Bigs) virtually to create mutually beneficial connections and combat loneliness.