Judy Zhu, founder of app startup Walla, and her Melissa & Doug Program mentor, Howie Rhee, at the Duke Startup Challenge Grand Finale.

Judy Zhu, founder of app startup Walla, and her Melissa & Doug Program mentor, Howie Rhee, at the Duke Startup Challenge Grand Finale.

Walla, a new app from Duke student Judy Zhu, is changing student life for the better, and a win at this year's Duke Startup Challenge is placing them in the spotlight to shine. The app is an incredible tool that helps Duke students spontaneously connect over the things they enjoy by providing a platform for students to create events and/or requests for social interactions to see who in the community is interested in joining.

The app first launched on move-in day for the incoming freshman class, followed up with a campus wide release on September 21st, and has gained over 900 users since then. Zhu says she hopes to have the app on all college campuses in the coming years. Walla, previously Genie, was a DUhatch team and part of the Melissa & Doug Entrepreneurship program here at Duke.