What’s your Side Project: IlimiXR is Re-imagining Creative Connections for Academic Success

Author: Kanami Kitagawa

The limiXR Team; Crew, Emma, SereenThe limiXR Team; Crew, Emma, Sereen

Sereen Nasrallah and Crew Weunski (John Carroll University ‘20) knew they wanted to do a side project but didn’t yet have an idea. They started brainstorming, considering issues surrounding clean water and healthcare before ultimately deciding to tackle a problem within education. The two are joined by Emma Hayes (Saint Anselm College ‘20), a fellow ESTEEM student, forming a team dedicated to bridging the equity gap with the Ilimi difference. All three team members were drawn to the educational aspect of their solution as they have each had touching experiences in the education system.

Crew and Sereen worked on a project (STEM for mentorship, education, and development) to create a curriculum for afterschool learning to expose students to STEM fields. Emma worked for the Meelia Center for Community Engagement, especially servicing immigrant and refugee children who lived in low-income housing. Despite the work she and others did, some of the children had undiagnosed learning disabilities that could not properly be addressed with the limited resources available. These experiences led Crew, Sereen, and Emma to recognize that equity is a huge issue in education, and this is what they wanted to address.

The team is working to develop IlimiXR, a virtual reality platform for students that struggle with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. The inspiration for this idea came from a problem that Crew noticed through observing his mom’s work as a dyslexia specialist: when COVID-19 hit there was a large inefficiency due to a lack of progress monitoring for kids who had dyslexia. Sitting behind a screen all day, unable to focus, children were falling behind. 

ESTEEM’s Entrepreneurial Thinking class helped to guide the team to the beginnings of their solution and they have since been working with a startup coach through the IDEA Center to get the ball rolling. They say that “it’s [been] nice to have someone outside of the project for unbiased feedback” and they also hope to open a board of advisors for additional mentorship. In the meanwhile, pitch competitions are a big item on their to-do list that will be helpful for building connections and gaining traction, as well as for feedback as they move into prototyping. As they advance their venture, Crew is excited to leverage his experience working with a startup using augmented and virtual reality for two years prior to ESTEEM, and the team is committed to consistently incorporating the customer’s voice in their journey to Re-imagine Creative Connections for Academic Success. 

Editor's note: The team has entered the McCloskey New Venture Competition which will be held in April 2021.They have successfully advanced to Round 2.