Roadmap: A Tech Student’s Journey to the Microsoft Imagine Cup Finals

The top three finalist teams for the 2024 Microsoft Imagine Cup World Championship took the stage on May 21, including Tech student Aaliyah Jakir, third-year CS, and her team with their web-based assistance tool called Roadmap. After winning $50,000 from this competition, Jakir spoke to the Technique about her team’s process, development and future plans for Roadmap.

Roadmap is a web-tool designed for individuals with ADHD and others who struggle with starting tasks and other activities that require executive functioning. Jakir speaks about the inspiration behind her team’s project idea. 

“Initially, the tool was more of a project management tool but … [we] realized there was a critical gap in a productivity tool designed for people with ADHD in specific, and so that’s when we started pivoting and putting your efforts towards a tool and understanding the unique challenges of someone with ADHD,” Jakir said.

Jakir’s teammates include Ever Goldin and Clay Battle, CS majors at Binghamton University. They all met during their first year at Binghamton at a CS club on campus, where they immediately connected as friends and teammates. Upon Jakir’s transfer to Tech, they decided to keep their synergy and passion for projects going together.

“We had such a good team dynamic, and I think everyone realized that we had fun, but we were also very productive building together. So when I transferred to Georgia Tech, I decided this was such a strong team dynamic, so we shouldn’t let it go. We started brainstorming like each week just thinking about what we want to work on next after that, and we realized that we loved working on projects all the time,” Jakir said.

The development of Roadmap began through the Create-X startup launch last summer, which enabled the team to gain funding to travel to the international ADHD conference in December. Jakir describes this period as a critical moment during which they were able to better understand the real problems that people with ADHD face when it comes to task paralysis.

“We learned so much about why our original idea wouldn’t really help solve this issue and then what the real problems were for people that had ADHD. We were focusing on planning and organization, but one of the largest challenges for someone with ADHD is getting started because the ADHD brain works fundamentally differently to the neurotypical brain,” Jakir said.

A great challenge for the Roadmap team was testing the program. Making sure it truly addressed the issues to serve ADHD-specific needs was a difficult process to finalize. They figured out that the key was to identify the problem clearly and address it in manageable parts, one step at a time.

“Our current market strategy is that we’re working closely with ADHD coaches and their clients where we wanna be able to support the coaching practice with this tool to really get a more tight feedback loop at first … ultimately ADHD coaching is really inaccessible to a lot of students so we want to make this an affordable option for people and so that’s our ultimate goal with this tool,” Jakir said.

This isn’t exclusive to students or anyone else who may not be medically diagnosed with ADHD, however. Jakir makes it clear that the intentions of the Roadmap team are to create a highly accessible tool for anyone who may struggle with executive functioning or task paralysis at any level. Even for just getting started with daily chores, anyone could benefit from this type of interactive assistance.

As many Jackets may empathize with, putting such time and effort into a project outside of the workload from classes was difficult to learn how to balance. Jakir reveals that the greatest resources to her and her team during this time were all found on campus. Clubs that have similar-minded people with the same aspirations and have gone through the same issues can be a strong support system. She also emphasizes perseverance.

“My team and I went for the Inventure prize and that was the golden standard. I remember we were prepping for that and we were trying so hard because we wanted to get to the finals. I remember getting the email where we didn’t get it and that crushed me so much because I’ve been dreaming about it and really pushing forward so it was really difficult because it felt like such a big setback. It’s insane looking back because a few months after that, we were to win $50,000 at this Microsoft championship, but it wouldn’t have happened if I [didn’t] keep pushing,” Jakir said.

However, Jakir emphasizes that informed strategy should always go alongside that ambition. Instead of just persevering for the sake of it, students should try to evaluate next steps by considering what will truly be effective towards the end goal.

“Learning the right things to do is very critical as a student because you don’t have years of experience to lean on, so you need to know how to learn quickly by going to the people who have the most experience. It’s very easy to go the wrong direction in execution so you need to always be thinking, ‘who can I talk to, and how can I make sure I’m self correcting?’ So I think grit but fueled by strategy is the most important kind of sentiment I would give to anyone who’s really trying to make this work,” Jakir said.

Their success at the Imagine World Cup Championship enabled them to work on Roadmap this summer full-time, iterating and working on small improvements. Jakir describes their future plans as working in close collaboration with individuals and organizations in the ADHD community.

Students may check out Roadmap here: and use ACCESS_STUDENT for a free trial period.