Apple today announced some of the winners of its Swift Student Challenge for WWDC 2020, which begins next week.
There are 350 winners from 41 countries and regions around the globe. Apple highlighted Sofia Ongele, Palash Taneja, and Devin Green. Apple says all three view challenges in the world as opportunities to effect change. Every problem is a call to action — and they are answering, loud and clear.
For Sofia Ongele, 19, who just finished her sophomore year at New York’s Fordham University, her focus for change lies at the intersection of tech and social justice. ReDawn, her first iOS app, is a powerful example. After one of her college friends was sexually assaulted during her freshman year, Ongele created ReDawn to help survivors access resources in a safe, easy, and sensitive way.
Palash Taneja, 19, grew up in New Delhi, India. For his Swift Student Challenge submission this year, created against the backdrop of COVID-19, Taneja designed a Swift playground that teaches coding while simulating how a pandemic moves through a population, showing how precautions such as social distancing and masks can help slow infection rates. He created it to help educate young people after he saw others not taking warnings seriously.
Devin Green loves solving problems with technology and looks to his surroundings for inspiration. While finishing his senior year of high school at home due to COVID-19, he used his bedroom in Castro Valley, California, as a laboratory.
The 18-year-old, who will start his freshman year at Stanford in the fall, was having trouble waking up in the mornings, so he designed a program using a pressure mat under his bed. If weight is still on the mat after he’s supposed to be up, an alarm goes off and won’t stop until he uses his phone to scan a QR code.
Apple also profiled three other winners in an App Store story, including Lars Augustin, Maria Fernanda Azolin, and Ritesh Kanchi.
Developers who submitted their applications can find out their status by signing in to the Challenge website with the Apple ID they used to submit their application, says Apple.
Normally, the winners would have received free admission and accommodations for WWDC in San Jose. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 outbreak has lead to a virtual version of the conference being held, so each winner will still receive an exclusive WWDC 2020 jacket and pins and access to one-on-one developer labs with Apple engineers without paying for Apple Developer Program membership.