Apple showcased three Swift Student Challenge winners Friday — out of 350 total — who solve problems in their communities with their coding skills.
The three teens were all first-time participants in the annual app-coding competition for young developers using Swift Playgrounds. The challenge takes place at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.
WWDC22: Apple showcases 3 Swift Student Challenge winners whose coding makes a difference
Apple’s feature story goes into depth about how the three competition winners used the Swift programming language in their submission, how the resulting app helps their communities and other pursuits the young coders follow.
Jones Mays II – Houston, Texas
Jones Mays II, 17, is about to start his senior year of high school. He submitted a Swift app called Ivy. He said his roots inspired, which sound like a pun, considering what the app does. The app makes it easier for gardeners 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.”
Angelina Tsuboi – Redondo Beach, California
Another competition winner, 16-year-old Angelina Tsuboi, submitted an app that teaches users the basics of CPR. But that’s not all. She also created several other apps and has involved herself in a number of community projects.
Here are a few examples. Tsuboi helped build a prototype that monitors air quality. She designed a website to help search and rescue organizations. And she helped 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.”
Josh Tint – Tucson, Arizona
Apple’s third star coder is Josh Tint, 19, who just finished his freshman year at Arizona State University. He focuses his studies on linguistics. He specializes in “lavender linguistics,” or the study of language used by the LGBTQ+ community.
He created an app that enables people who are questioning their gender identity. It lets them try out different pronouns. His own journey exploring his identity inspired his creation.
“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 invites young developers to submit projects showcasing their skills to Apple. Projects are judged on technical accomplishment, creativity and an included written response.
Last year’s winners were also impressive.