New Student ‘Atlas App’ Seeks to Make Valencia College Online Spaces More Accessible

Zainab Sohail, Reporter

Dillon Hardy poses on the East Campus. Hardy’s “Atlas App” hopes to make online spaces easier to access for students at Valencia College. (Ilya Arbit)

When Dillon Hardy first came to Valencia College in Fall 2022, he did not expect to make an app. He was focusing on school and studies.

“It started unexpectedly, an accident; I was using different apps to see my grades, schedule or to change my major,” says the 18-year-old Computer Science major. “I figured what if I make a mobile app which has all the stuff that a Valencia College student might need. So, I just made a basic app for that”, explains Hardy.

His friends noticed him using this unique app and asked him to give it to them.

“That’s when the idea struck me. What if there is a way where I make it available for other people?”

The app is unofficially called the “Atlas App”. Users can log-in using biometrics such as Face ID and fingerprint, as well as Atlas email login. It has Canvas, Engage, Financial Aid, degree pathways, mental health resources, and, of course, Atlas. Students would no longer need different apps now. The app has a virtual ID which you can use instead of a physical ID card to enter classrooms, use printing services or sign in to library. It has been tested on both IOS and android. Hardy is waiting for Valencia College approval before launching to the online stores.

That’s when the idea struck me. What if there is a way where I make it available for other people?

— Dillon Hardy, 18, Computer Science

“This app is like a pathway. It takes you where you want to go from one app. You click on the Engage icon, and it takes you to Engage website. Having two different apps to see grades or schedule did not make sense to me”, says Hardy. Hardy believes that students will be more engaged on campus activities by using his app. 

Engage is a hidden treasure. I put it on my app so more students know about the events that are happening. There would be more clubs and more people involved in clubs if people know about it. There are so many events taking place at Valencia College. Student Development doesn’t do a good job in informing students. You have Engage there at the front so students can check what events are happening during the day”, says Hardy.

A visual representation of the “Atlas App” as viewed from a standard model phone. (Dillon Hardy)

So far Hardy has showed this app to his professors, his friends, and Valencia College East Campus’ Tech Club.  He has received positive responses. He also receives suggestions to make his app better.

“There are a lot of things that I didn’t realize I needed them until somebody gave a suggestion for it. A friend suggested that I put VID number in app and I did it without thinking about ever using it. But last week I used it to write attendance in one of my classes”.

On being asked their opinion on the app, Valencia College East Campus Tech Club’s Secretary Fritzson Louis and member Emily Hikade and  have only nice things to say about it. 

“Dillion’s app is phenomenal. I can’t say enough good things about it. The quality and reliability alone are astounding. It’s really easy to use and looks very professional. Everyone needs this app,” says Hikade.

“I believe that Dillon’s app simplifies necessary tools never known to students. The fact that he has flushed out the resources, such as taking the GPS marker from the website and making it an individual section changes a lot of my experience as a college student. I get lost a lot on campus when going to a new class”, says Louis.

Hardy is hopeful that Valencia College adopts his app, so students and faculty can use it.




Dillon Hardy presented the “Atlas App” to over forty students at the Tech Club meeting on March 1.

Dillon Hardy hosted a TechTalk on Wednesday, March 1, in Bldg 8 Rm 101 in collaboration with Valencia College’s East Campus Tech Club where he briefly introduced his app to students and faculty. Advisors Dennis Hunchuck and Dr. Lisa Macon sponsor Hardy’s app. Macon sees the app as “a great opportunity to fast track an app for students, staff and faculty”.

Dillon’s mom and UCF graduate, Melissa Hardy, says Dillon is following in her footsteps. “I started programming after graduating from UCF in 1996, I had Dillon in 2004. As a single parent, he emulates me. When he was an infant and before he could walk, he was interested in computers. He would try to provide status updates on his projects.”

 “Valencia (College) needs to hire Dillon or purchase the app for collaboration. It is close to being fully functional and just needs access,” Macon explains.

Hunchuck sees Hardy’s potential; “I feel Dillon is ‘Doogie Houser, MD’.  Hardy started programming when he was ten. He came to the Tech Club and shares his work with the members. He’s eager to make it even more user-friendly, he just needs Office of Information Technology support. Everything he does now is pulling things together open source and would like to do more.”

On his advice for future app developers, Hardy suggests speaking to target audience. “If you are making an app for Katy Perry, talk to Katy Perry fans to see what they like. If you are not asking the people who it’s made for, to see if they like it, or what they want added to it, you will end up making something that nobody finds useful.”

Dillon Hardy is planning to transfer to UCF through Direct Connect. He plans to create a business where he designs more apps for college students.

Valencia College’s East Campus Tech Club meets every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in Bldg 8 Room 221.


*quotes provided in collaboration by EIC Jeremy Gottschalk for the Valencia Tech Club TechTalk on March 1.