In 2019, as a student employee in Macalester’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Office, Ayça Arbay ’23 (Izmir, Turkey) took on an assignment to edit a video for a new startup called Easy EMDR, founded by Zachary Jordan ’20.

Three years later, they collaborated again—this time through the college’s MacNest program, which connects students with local startups for paid 10-week internships. Jordan, now Easy EMDR’s successful CEO, was named to Minne Inno’s “Inno Under 25” list in 2020. Through Easy EMDR, he launched an app for mobile and web use that makes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment accessible and affordable by integrating the technology into virtual therapy. He pledges 10 percent of Easy EMDR’s profits to nonprofit organizations, part of his broader mission to make trauma therapy affordable and accessible for anybody who needs it.

Arbay, a computer science major with a concentration in cognitive science, was curious to learn more about the wide range of tasks that working at a startup requires. As an intern at Easy EMDR, she took on projects focused on backend and UI [user interface] software development. She also helped research a redesign of the startup’s mobile application. “It was a really fun change to use my creativity more,” she says. “The project showed me that I want that creativity in my development, and that I would like to work more on the UX [user experience] and UI side in the future.”

Arbay also learned from Jordan’s mentorship and support—an aspect of the experience she didn’t expect at the start, given that Jordan is only a couple of years older than she is. “At first I was caught up in this narrative that older people and people with experience have more to give to interns,” she says. “Not only did Zach believe in my vision, he proved to me every day how competent and qualified he was to run this company. I came out of it with a new belief that as a young person I should not be afraid of large projects and starting startups. Anything is possible.”

And in the span of ten weeks, Arbay was able to make an impact on Easy EMDR, too—and she’ll continue her work there as a developer this fall. “Because of her work to help redesign and program our mobile app, clients can find therapists easier, and therapists can communicate better with their clients,” Jordan says. “I couldn’t be more impressed with what she was able to achieve in such a short time.”

September 1 2022

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