Apple has highlighted three of the 350 winners of the Swift Student Challenge who are using their coding abilities to solve problems in their communities.
The three teens were all first-time participants in the Swift Student Challenge, which is a coding competition for young developers that takes place as part of WWDC each year. In a feature story Friday, Apple detailed the winning submissions and the inspiration behind them.
Jones Mays II, 17, submitted a Swift app called Ivy, which he said was inspired by his roots. The app helps Gardners identify and get rid of invasive plant species.
"My grandfather had a garden that he loved, and he grew so much food that he just allowed people from the community to come in and grab what they needed," Mays said. "Even though he couldn't walk at the end of his life, he used to point and that's where I'd put down the seeds for him. But we always had to try to get rid of the kudzu vine — it was an ongoing fight."
One of the other winners, Angelina Tsuboi, 16, submitted an app that teaches users the basics of CPR. However, the young coder has also been created several other apps and has been involved in a number of community projects.
For example, Tsuboi helped build a prototype that monitors air quality, designed a website to help search and rescue organizations, and help create a school communication program that eventually won a Congressional App Challenge in her school district.
"Life is riddled with problems — everyone is struggling with at least one thing," said Tsuboi. "And programming filled me with this sense of hope. It gave me a way to help identify problems that people in my community or my friends were facing and use my skill set to help them."
Apple also highlighted Josh Tint, 19, who created an app that enables people who are questioning their gender identity to try out different pronouns. That was inspired by his own journey exploring his identity.
"An algorithm will insert different pronouns into pieces of sample text," said Tint. "You can swipe through the sample text — left or right to indicate whether you like it or not — to get a feel for whether you think a certain gender pronoun matches your identity."
The Swift Student Challenge allows young developers to submit projects to Apple to showcase their skills. Each project is judged on technical accomplishment, creativity, and an included written response.