Today on the podcast we change it up a bit and I speak with Tyler Skluzacek, a college student, who developed an app to help veterans–specifically his father!–manage the symptoms of PTSD.
I initially read about Tyler online and knew I just had to invite him on the podcast. This is an inspiring story of a young guy helping individuals who are suffering. It’s exactly the kind of story I want to highlight on this podcast.
I hope you enjoy the interview.
Tyler Skluzacek ’16 (New Prague, Minn.) and his team took a top prize at HackDC, a grueling 36-hour coding competition in Washington, D.C., dedicated to addressing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As the winners of Best PTSD Mobile App for Clinicians, team “The Cure” took home $1500.
Their app, myBivy (short for bivouac, temporary soldier’s quarters), runs on the Pebble Time Smartwatch and is designed to track “night terrors,” a PTSD symptom in which soldiers or others may suddenly awaken in a panic.
Some 3.6 million veterans experience PTSD following exposure to traumatic or life-threatening events. This includes 11–20% of those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as veterans of the Gulf and Vietnam Wars. Other symptoms may include flashbacks, insomnia, and exaggerated responses to triggers. And it’s not only vets—an estimated 7.8% of Americans are affected by PTSD.
Skluzacek, who is majoring in computer science, applied math and statistics, and economics, headed to D.C. for the competition, inspired, in part, by the experience of his father, an Iraq War veteran. Many of the participants arrived with teams in place, but Skluzacek recruited four team members on the spot.