As a preliminary WWDC21 ritual, Apple held its annual Swift Student Challenge. Amongst the 350 Swift Student Challenge winners from 35 different regions and countries, three young girls won the student challenge: Gianna Yan, Abinaya Dinesh, and Damilola Awofisayo. Each winner demonstrated “their coding and problem-solving skills by submitting an original Swift playground to earn a spot.”
Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing, Susan Prescott, said that:
“Every year, we are inspired by the talent and ingenuity that we see from our Swift Student Challenge applicants. This year, we are incredibly proud that more young women applied and won than ever before, and we are committed to doing everything we can to nurture this progress and reach true gender parity.”
Winners of WWDC21 Swift Student Challenge created apps to help the elderly, monitor health, and a platform to learn to code
Winners of the 2021 student challenge are young teenage girls who are driven to solve problems with tech.
Gianna Yan creator of Feed Fleet app
16 years old Yan was inspired to create the Feed Fleet app when her elderly grandmother had a hard time getting essential supplies in Hawaii when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Thus, her app pairs volunteers with at-risk individuals to deliver groceries and other suppliers at the door.
“If we foster the next generation with an emphasis on diversity, we’ll continue the acceleration of innovation within tech.”
In addition, she is working on The Farmlink Project, a non-profit, that will enable farms to give their surplus produce to food banks. Yan is designing an app that will help students report sexual assault incidents on campus and is assisting with a breast cancer self-examination and detection of a heart disease app.
Abinaya Dinesh creator of the Gastro at Home app
15 years old, Dinesh was motivated to create a health tool by her own medical condition. In 2020, she was diagnosed with pelvic floor disorder but her gastroenterologist did not tell her ways to get better. Thus, she designed Gastro at Home app which will “offer people with gastrointestinal disorders a way to access information and resources, especially because those types of conditions can sometimes be sensitive to talk about.”
“I think it’s important that we keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, because nobody is going to do it for us.”
She plans to introduce the app this summer on the App Store. And passionate about teaching, Dinesh started her nonprofit programs: ‘Impact AI’ to encourage learning and ethical practices in AI in young people and ‘Girls in AI’ to teach “young women the basics of programming and machine learning.”
Damilola Awofisayo creator of TecHacks
As a hackathons enthusiast, 17 years old Awofisayo created TecHacks, after being denied entry in several hackathons events. Her nonprofit organization aims to provide “a supportive environment for girls everywhere to create, problem-solve, and showcase their talents alongside like-minded females to compete and work with.”
“When you increase the number of girls in tech, you also see a shift in the problems that are being addressed and the solutions. And I’m excited to be a part of that.”
The organization’s first hackathon in 2020, attracted 800 participants from more than 60 countries, especially from Nigeria. In addition, Awofisayo’s organization run coding workshops and annual fellowship and she is designing an American Sign Language app.
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