Q&A: Trevor Gicheru '25 on how he invented an AI study app

The SMU Lyle Computer Science major’s invention, Nurovant AI, is a game-changer for helping students study smarter

Trevor Gicheru, computer science major at SMU Lyle, with the Nurovant AI study aid app he invented.


As a junior at SMU Lyle School of Engineering, Trevor Gicheru has a natural curiosity about how to make processes smarter, faster, and more efficient.

So when he found himself spending hours rewatching video recordings of class lectures to create flash cards, the computer science major decided there had to be a better way to study.

Gicheru, who is also president of SMU’s chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, leveraged his AI and coding knowledge into a business venture by creating an app that turns class lectures into study aids. We sat down with Gicheru to learn more about his invention, Nurovant AI, and his advice for other students.

—Thinking grad school? Think SMU Lyle. Learn about our M.S. in Computer Science with AI Specialization. —

Q: Tell me about Nurovant AI. How does it work?

Gicheru: Last summer, I began building a proprietary generative AI application that could take recordings of class lectures – anywhere from five to 90 minutes long – and create easily digestible summaries and study aids. It can generate short recaps, flash cards, and quizzes with the content, so you can choose the study method that works best for you. It also includes interactive chatbots that answer questions related to the lecture.

Q: What has the response been from students at SMU?

Gicheru: The reaction from students has been pretty positive. Some have said it has really improved their study habits and their grades. I’ve also received great feedback on how to improve the product to make it more useful. For example, one user suggested that we find a way to combine all of the recordings from one class to make a study aid for final exams.

"Always be curious. Believe in yourself and don't wait on others to believe in you."

Q: What has surprised you the most?

Gicheru: I learned from a professor that the app could make a huge difference for kids with dysgraphia, which is a learning disability that makes it difficult to listen and write at the same time. That was very moving for me. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to help others and make learning more accessible and engaging.

Q: Can you talk about the potential of AI?

Gicheru: The problem-solving potential of AI is really exciting. I think AI will make society more productive and efficient as a whole. For a while, I was interested in using AI to track different diseases. The Computer Science program at SMU Lyle gave me a good foundation to dive into it. I would chat with my professors about different projects and that gave me a window to be more curious and learn more about AI.

Q: What’s the future of Nurovant AI?

Gicheru: I want to take this startup as far as I can. I’d like to see it acquired by a big company that can put it into as many schools as possible to help as many students as it can. I’d like to have both a student-facing version and a school-facing version. I’ve been talking to investors and some contractors to help with coding, and I’m looking forward to seeing where this can go in the future!

Q: What advice do you have for students who want to become entrepreneurs like you?

Gicheru: Always be curious. All of this started with me being curious and questioning how I can make things more productive for myself, then continuously learning and applying that knowledge to improve. Believe in yourself and don’t wait on others to believe in you.

About the Bobby Lyle School of Engineering
SMU's Lyle School of Engineering thrives on innovation that transcends traditional boundaries. We strongly believe in the power of externally funded, industry-supported research to drive progress and provide exceptional students with valuable industry insights. Our mission is to lead the way in digital transformation within engineering education, all while ensuring that every student graduates as a confident leader. Founded in 1925, SMU Lyle is one of the oldest engineering schools in the Southwest, offering undergraduate and graduate programs, including master’s and doctoral degrees.

About SMU
SMU is the nationally ranked global research university in the dynamic city of Dallas. SMU’s alumni, faculty and nearly 12,000 students in eight degree-granting schools demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit as they lead change in their professions, community and the world.