Story in the School of Engineering
Arturo Posadas '11
Computer Engineering major
An interest in software engineering and solving problems led Arturo Posadas '11 to develop a reliable phone card platform that helps African-immigrant communities connect better with family members in their home countries.
As fate would have it, computer science and engineering major Arturo Posadas ’11 simultaneously found the perfect match—for both his senior design project and an internship—with PalmCall, a Silicon Valley telecommunications start-up.
Moving from Peru at the age of 10 with his family, Posadas knew from his parents’ experience how frustrating it can be to face problems when trying to call home using a prepaid phone card. Spurred by this memory, he had an easy time choosing his senior design project. And the PalmCall internship would afford him the opportunity to realize his vision: to help the growing African-immigrant community improve its chances of connecting with family members in their home countries through selection of a reliable phone card.
"Africa has one of the worst connection rates,” he says, “and calls drop or never go through. While the customer waits for a dial tone, minutes are ticking off their prepaid allotment. In many cases, there is no customer service department available for lodging a complaint. So the idea for this project was to create a dynamic system of ranking the cards, based on performance, so that customers can choose the most reliable phone card provider in their price range.”
Reflecting on the win-win collaboration, Posadas says, “I was new to all this and didn’t know anything about telecommunications when I started, but it’s been interesting working as an intern at PalmCall. I like software engineering and solving problems. I like being able to help people by taking away some of their frustration.”
Posadas is currently a student in the engineering graduate program at Santa Clara University.