Technovation and LinkedIn: Preparing the next generation for STEM careers
June 23, 2015
Over the last few months a group of LinkedIn employees, through our Women In Tech (WIT) program, have had the opportunity to spend 50-60 hours mentoring teams of middle/high school girls as they work to build innovative apps for the Technovation Challenge Program. Technovation aims to inspire and educate girls and women to solve real-world problems through technology. Students around the world work in teams to develop mobile app “startups” to solve real problems in their communities with the help of Coaches (teachers, parents, or community members) and Mentors (women professionals in technology or business), as they compete for a part of $20,000 in awards.
As the LinkedIn Ambassador for the program, I had the opportunity to work with Technovation Director Judy Ho and our WIT Community team to recruit four other mentors from LinkedIn - Anna Keramaty, Allison Hall, Stephanie Lie and Vinitha Reddy and to organize a hack workshop for students at the LinkedIn Mountain View Campus in December 2014. Technovation season kicks off with several informative sessions for the students to learn AppInventor, an intuitive blocks-based programming tool used for creating Android apps. As part of the workshop, we had two Student Ambassadors, both Technovation Challenge alums, teach and help about 30 girls from across the Bay Area, with setting up the environment and various app inventor exercises. Allison Hall also gave a short presentation on web and mobile development to show the students ways to use and improve their skill set during this program. It was a great event to help expose the girls to programming, while preparing them for the challenge ahead.
Technovation Challenge provides a platform for students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset through the apps they build. The teams work through the 3-month curriculum, that includes all the phases required to map out the app from inception to completion - idea brainstorming, market analysis and requirement collection, use-centered design and development, branding and promotion, potential revenue analysis, testing, user feedback and final pitch/demo recording.
The teams mentored by our WIT members this Technovation season had some great submissions:
App: Summer Camp Search
Description: Summer Camp Search makes it easier for parents to find summer camps for their children. Right now, many parents go through a tiring process of looking for summer camps, but our app will make it simple and easy. We have created a way to browse for a wide variety of camps in the Bay Area, view info about the camp, and follow a link to the camp website.
Team members: Diya Aggarwal, Isha Garlapati, Soumya Sridhar, Vedanajli Valiveti, Allison Hall (mentor)
Pitch Video: Summer Camp Search Pitch
Team: Tech's Angels
App: Map Meet Educate
Description: Do you ever walk up and down your school campus looking for a teacher and end up wasting away break time? Look no further, with Map Meet Educate you will never have to spend time finding a teacher. Now you can find your teachers, propose meetings, and verify the teacher is near before a meeting. Additionally, one day prior to your scheduled meeting you can opt to receive a text message as a reminder. Map Meet Educate bridges the gap in communication and makes students lives better while helping teachers organize their schedules into one place for convenience.
Team members: Megan Love, Wako Morimoto, Emma Jaeger, Anna Keramaty (mentor)
Pitch Video: Map Meet Educate Pitch
Description: SaveDBeat is an Android app that crowd sources help during medical emergencies. According to USA Today, emergency medical systems save only 6-10% of cardiac arrest victims, though a large population is trained in CPR/BLS/ACLS. SaveDBeat provides a framework to connect people in emergency situations with trained volunteers to increase their chance of survival. With a button click, it automatically calls 911, messages user’s family/friends and notifies volunteers nearby who might reach the user faster than 911. We plan to use SaveDBeat to establish a health conscious society and be part of a real change in people's lives.
Team members: Sravanthi Prattipati, Neha Pamidi, Sneha Pamidi, Sonali Patil, Swetha Karthik (mentor), Vinitha Reddy (mentor)
Pitch Video: SaveDBeat Pitch
The Technovation Final World Pitch event is on June 24-25 in San Francisco. There will be two workshops conducted by LinkedIn WIT volunteers as part of this event:
Exploring LinkedIn’s Higher Education Platform
LinkedIn’s Education tools connect prospective students with knowledge and opportunities that will help them make better educational and career decisions. Hear from members of the design and engineering team responsible for this project as they discuss their experience working on its development and their careers at LinkedIn.
Speakers: Alicia Lin, Anna Keramaty, Tiffany Lim
HTML/CSS/JS: Your Virtual Legos!
Speakers: Luisa Hurtado, Ketaki Deo, Lisamarie Kelly, Kacey Coughlin
For more information about tickets, schedule and volunteering please visit the Technovation World Pitch website.
As mentors, it was a humbling experience for us to help the girls plan and execute their ideas into fully functional products in a short span of 3 months. Girls tend to walk away from STEM careers while transitioning from school to college; fostering an enabling environment is critical in attracting more young women into STEM. Thanks to Technovation for providing us the platform to encourage and help the next generation realize their potential and follow their passion to take the next step in their career.
- Iridescent - Technovation team, student ambassadors and participants for providing us an opportunity to pay it forward.
- WIT fellow mentors who volunteered to spend time outside of their day job to help the teams build and own their ideas.
- WIT members who have volunteered to conduct workshops during the beginning and end of the Technovation season this year; Allison Hall for helping us coordinate the World Pitch event.
- Our managers who supported our participation, Linkedin WIT Community Leadership - Sarah Clatterbuck, Erica Lockheimer, Deepa Sethi, for providing the encouragement, and everyone who has directly or indirectly contributed towards the success of this initiative