The winners of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Swift Student challenge have been announced and at least one of them is Nigerian.
17-year-old Damilola Awofisayo is from Woodbridge, Virginia, and is one of the young people that participated in and won the challenge. From all the applicants, 350 winners were selected from 35 different countries and regions. However, more young women took part in the challenge this year than in previous years.
In its Newsroom post, Apple spotlighted Awofisayo as well as two other ladies, Gianna Yan and Abinaya Ginesh.
Awofisayo started TecHacks, a nonprofit organization that brings women and nonbinary individuals together virtually in hackathons. Before starting TecHacks, she had applied to a few hackathons in the hopes of participating in at least one. However, she was rejected by all of them and decided to start her own with a friend.
In August 2020, the nonprofit held its first hackathon and had over 800 participants from more than 60 countries, according to Damilola. The participants won $8,216 in prizes from sponsors, including Balsamiq, Digital Ocean, Athena and Voiceflow.
For Awofisayo, the big picture is to increase the number of girls participating in tech and work with others to ensure that tech serves people from all backgrounds equitably. She said, “We started TecHacks with the idea that we know what we like, what we don’t like, and we know what can make it (tech) better for girls specifically.”
The nonprofit’s team is a varied one that has Nigerian girls on it as well. Being diverse is important to Awofisayo in the quest to inspire people from different countries who need the opportunities that TecHacks can provide. The hackathon takes place every August and students can register for it here.
Another female winner, Gianna Yan and her sister Shannon, developed an application that connects volunteers to at-risk individuals who need help getting groceries and other essential supplies. The idea was born out of knowing that her grandparents struggled with getting necessary supplies delivered to them in their home in Hawaii.
Abinaya Dinesh, on the other hand, created an app called Gastro with the aim of helping people with gastrointestinal disorders to get information and resources. She was diagnosed with a pelvic floor disorder but was not told how to get better by the doctor. These disorders can be sensitive to talk about and therefore require a safe space where people can freely discuss and inquire about their situation.
These three young women are not the only winners of the challenge, however. There are 347 young men and women from different countries who have also been selected as winners.
Each one will receive a ticket to the WWDC, which is starting next Monday, and all the educative events already prepared. They will also get a year’s membership to the Apple Developer Program as well as WWDC outerwear and a customized pin set.
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