Headshot of Zeke Critchlow

Computer Science student develops digital dashboard for BC music festival

July 10, 2024

Zeke Critchlow discovers a passion for programming at VIU

Attending VIU allowed Zeke Critchlow to push his limits and uncover a “deep-seated passion for programming and research.” 

“The VIU community has enriched my experience, making it a delightful place to study and grow. The support and encouragement from my instructors have been crucial, pushing me to exceed my perceived limits and explore new heights in my capabilities,” says Zeke. “Thank you to everyone who helped make my VIU experience awesome!”

The fourth-year Computer Science Honours Program student created a digital dashboard for Shambhala Music Festival’s medical services. The dashboard allows medical staff to track real-time medical data during a large-scale music festival. Zeke says the tool could positively impact medical care outcomes and save lives.  

One of the challenges Zeke had to overcome was dealing with time zones. He had to calculate patient length of stays and sometimes would receive negative times because of how computers track time and handle time zones.  

“It was painstaking and required immense tenacity to resolve the issue,” says Zeke.

Zeke received a VIU REACH Award of $3,000 to support his Shambhala Music Festival project, which he developed under the mentorship of Dr. Luis Meneses. 

We caught up with Zeke to talk about his experience at VIU and his research project.

Tell us about your experience at VIU and in your program.

My time at VIU in the Computer Science program has been a considerable journey of growth, both personal and professional. The courses and studies were a worthwhile challenge that honed my academic and technical skills and uncovered a deep-seated passion for programming and research. When I began my studies, I could not have envisioned the extent to which I would thrive – academically excelling to the point of joining the honours program!

Also, the opportunity to engage in independent research projects allowed me to shine and apply my skills in meaningful, real-world applications, solidifying my love for academia and computer science.

Tell us about your research project.

My research project focused on developing a digital dashboard for the Shambhala Music Festival's medical services. The goal was to create a tool to display real-time medical data and analyze post-event information to help medical staff manage patient care more effectively during the festival. This tool is designed to be user-friendly, ensuring that medical professionals can easily navigate it, even during the hectic environment of a large-scale music festival. The project combines technology and health care to provide a positive impact on medical care outcomes and potentially save lives!

How did you choose what you wanted to research and what were your motivations?

There were multiple projects! I chose my main research project following a recommendation from a faculty member who collaborated with the Shambhala Music Festival's medical services. I was invited to the festival to meet various stakeholders and understand their needs. The medical director, who had previously engaged with our department, emphasized the need to analyze existing data collected by a prior data entry application developed by students. This inspired my project to create a data dashboard that would enhance the medical team's decision-making.

What is the overall importance of this research project?

The significance of this research project stems from its application to the Shambhala Music Festival, a mass gathering where extensive research, especially concerning health-care management, is notably scarce. By developing a data dashboard, this project aims to enhance real-time decision-making and post-event analysis and sets a foundation for improving health-care outcomes for festival attendees.

This initiative is vital because it addresses a critical gap in current health-care practices at large events – systematic data gathering and analysis. With the medical director's vision of creating an application scalable to other events, this project could lead to a revolutionary change in how medical data is collected and used at mass gatherings. The goal is to establish a shared data repository that could facilitate advanced research, contributing to safer and more efficient healthcare delivery at mass gatherings worldwide. This broader application underscores the project's potential to significantly impact public health in settings that traditionally lack comprehensive medical oversight.

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