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.
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