Brian Groudan, a double major in information systems and human-computer interaction with a minor in communication design, will be the student speaker at Carnegie Mellon University's 116th Commencement May 19.
Groudan, one of the founders of PayTango, an early-stage startup focused on providing biometric identification for payments and access control applications, graduated with university honors in December 2012.
Groudan remembers his time at Carnegie Mellon as "diverse and always rewarding." In his commencement talk, he will address university's unique brand of "cool" and why it is never boring.
He founded PayTango with three other CMU students. After winning three awards at PennApps, the University of Pennsylvania's biannual hackathon, and developing the product this past fall in the Tech Startup Lab course taught by Luis von Ahn, associate professor of computer science, the PayTango team applied to and was accepted at Y Combinator, a startup accelerator in Mountain View, California.
PayTango has already received accolades, including being named among "America's Coolest College Startups" by Inc. magazine, and has been featured in countless technology-focused websites and publications.
Groudan is very comfortable working in interdisciplinary teams and practicing the creative process across a broad range of media. He was a member of the teams that won first place at the Microsoft Windows 8 Hackathon and the Human-Computer Interaction Institute Website Redesign Contest. For his undergraduate capstone, Groudan created a prototype for The Economist's online debates platform. He previously interned at The Boeing Company as a usability engineer and the Mozilla Corporation as a user experience researcher for Firefox. The mantra "make something people want" has always guided Groudan's work as an interaction designer.
He credits Carnegie Mellon with helping him come out of his shell, solidify his career path and seize a myriad of opportunities. On campus, he was active in Student Life, serving as an orientation counselor for two years and a resident assistant. He was also vice president and booth chair for Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, webmaster for TEDxCMU, and a teaching assistant for two courses in the Information Systems Department.