Leda Rosenthal '18: ALZ You Need

Leda Rosenthal is a sophomore at Colgate, majoring in Environmental Geography and minoring in International Relations. She is also super involved on campus: she’s on SGA, volunteers for Side Kicks, and is on the ski team!  On top of all of this, when Leda faced a challenge, instead of being deterred she rose up against it and found a way to help not only her own family, but also many other families, friends, loved-ones, and patients affected by Alzheimer's or a dementia-related illness.

Leda’s TIA venture is designing and developing a mobile application to help with families with loved ones suffering from Alzheimer's or a dementia-related illness communicate more easily. The idea came to her last May after her mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. Her mother’s diagnosis understandably presented a number of challenges. For Leda, the most difficult of this challenges was communication, especially when she was away at school. According to Leda, “when your loved one is far away, having cogent, non-redundant conversations can be difficult.” However, Leda had an idea of how to better facilitate communication between her and her mother, which is what led to her TIA venture.

The mobile application Leda is developing, "Alz You Need", combines text, call and reminders in a unique, intuitive way that facilitates the cognitively impaired to use technology in ways that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. According to Leda, a prominent issue Alzheimer’s patients often face is having a hard time knowing who they're talking to, and what else they’ve talked about. That is why the app’s most notable, and practical, feature is the simple pop-up notifications where family members can log previous conversations directly into the message box so that their loved one can pull up the notes on a separate device during the next conversation.

Leda believes that this app will be successful when we take into account who is currently being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She recognizes that there is a new generation of tech-savvy people—think baby boomers—beginning to suffer from Alzheimer’s. This demographic is only growing, which means that soon most diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will be tech savvy enough to use her application to stay connected with their loved ones in the early stages of the disease.

According to Leda, it has been, “a ton of fun developing the app,” and her family has been super supportive. Her idea has been extremely well received, and she will soon be presenting her venture at E-Weekend on Demo Day. For those who aren’t familiar with it, E-Weekend is a huge event where students have the opportunity to truly showcase their events. On “demo day,” students prepare booths that explain their ventures and both alums and visitors come to see what the students have prepared and can offer on the spot donations. This is an incredible opportunity because it is a great chance for ideas such as Leda’s to gain traction in the market. If you want to go check it out, “demo day” will be taking place on Saturday, April 9th. Leda’s booth will be extra exciting because it will have complete wireframes from the app, and a testimonial video from a Colgate alum Sally Sachar, the COO of UsAgainstAlzheimer's. Stay tuned and keep an eye out for Leda! With Alz of this going for her, combined with her drive and dedication, there’s no doubt she is going to be ridiculously successful. Can you say #goals?! Go Leda!!!