June 3, 2022
Winners of Apple’s WWDC22 Swift Student Challenge help communities through coding
Each year, in preparation for Apple’s World Developers Conference, young people around the world use Swift Playgrounds to demonstrate their coding skills. This year, as part of the Swift Student Challenge, they included presentations from first-time participants Jones Mays II, Angelina Tsuboi and Josh Tint.
All three teens harness the power of coding to create apps that help solve problems in their communities – and are among more than 350 students from 40 countries and regions who have been selected as 2022 challenge winners.
The Swift Student Challenge is just one part of WWDC22, along with the keynote, events, labs and workshops available online and free for the global Apple developer community of more than 30 million strong. And when programming begins on June 6, Mays, Tsuboi and Tint will be among those tuning in for the latest technology, tools and frameworks to help build on their already impressive coding skills to create the next generation of apps revolutionary.
When Jones Mays II, 17, conceived his winning submission Swift Playgrounds, an app called Ivy, he found inspiration in his roots.
“My grandfather had a garden that he loved, and he grew so much food that he allowed people in the community to come and get what they needed,” said Mays, who is about to start his senior year in high school. Houston. , Texas. “Even though he couldn’t walk at the end of his life, he had the indication and that’s where I planted the seeds for him. But we still had to try to get rid of the kudzu vine – it was a constant struggle.” .
And so Mays decided to create an app that would honor his grandfather, who died a few years ago, helping other gardeners identify and get rid of invasive plants like kudzu.
“I really enjoyed being able to build programs that can showcase my creativity and passion in a fun and easy way,” Mays said. “Swift has been a big part of this – I discovered it about a year ago and I like how easy it is to use.”
This summer, Jones will be helping others learn programming languages like Swift.
“I will teach the next generation of students what it means to learn computer science,” Mays said. “Because I really believe that when you can learn computer science, you can apply it in so many other fields.”
It’s no surprise to Mays that teaching has become part of his journey – it comes from a long line of educators. They include his mother, brother and late grandfather, who Mays thinks will approve the app created in his honor.
“He was a man of few words,” Mays said. “But I think he said, ‘Squirt, you did a good job.’
When it comes to dealing with problems, 16-year-old Angelina Tsuboi, who lives in Redondo Beach, California, can’t choose just one.
In addition to his successful presentation of Swift Playgrounds that teaches the principles of CPR, he also helped build a prototype that monitors air quality, created a website to help search and rescue organizations, and he conceived a school communication program that won the Congressional App Challenge in his. district.
“Life is full of problems – everyone is struggling with at least one thing,” Tsuboi said. “And programming filled me with this sense of hope. It gave me a way to help identify the problems that people in my community or my friends were facing and use my expertise to help.
The project that is closest to its core is an app called Lilac, which launched in the App Store in March.
“My mom is a single mom and she’s from Japan,” Tsuboi said. “When she got here, she had language issues, so I made an app where you can find resources like childcare or housing or grant opportunities, and translators in the community to help you connect. with them. ”
That sense of service permeates everything Tsuboi does and keeps him looking for new projects to tackle.
“Helping others helps you stay humble and connected to your community,” Tsuboi said. “It makes the world seem like a better place and fills me with a sense of joy – I’m able to do at least one thing that helps alleviate the chaos in the world.”
Josh Tint loves words. The 19-year-old from Tucson, Arizona, has just finished his freshman year at Arizona State University and is focusing his studies on linguistics — particularly lavender linguistics, which is the study of language. used by the LGBTQ + community.
For its winning Swift Playgrounds, Tint has designed an app that allows people who are questioning their gender identity to try different pronouns.
“An algorithm will insert several pronouns into pieces of sample text,” Tint said. “You can scroll through the sample text – left or right to indicate whether you like it or not – to get an idea of whether you think a certain gender pronoun corresponds to your identity.”
The inspiration for the app came from Tint’s own journey.
“I questioned my gender identity and so I know there aren’t a lot of resources to help with that,” Tint said. “So I wanted to try to build a tool that I thought was more applicable to my experience and could also help others. I wanted my app to help tell a story.”
Tint taught himself coding at the beginning of high school and devised an algorithm for dissecting and constructing poems. He used it to put a poem into the school’s poetry competition – and he won.
He then learned Swift himself and thinks that he lends himself to his work in linguistics.
“I really like Swift’s natural language painting,” Tint said. “It’s really powerful and fantastic for scripting – I’ve used it to build machine learning models to help analyze speech.”
In the future, Tint wants to use his knowledge of linguistics and programming to devise algorithms that help mitigate biases.
“Right now, a lot of the work done is only in a few languages, and it reflects the prejudices of the people who write,” Tint said. “We will address these limitations and begin building new models with more parameters and larger and more inclusive data sets. If we do not include the histories of marginalized communities in those core processes now, it will be very difficult to reverse that damage later.” .
Apple is proud to support and elevate the next generation of developers, creators and entrepreneurs through its annual WWDC student program. Over the past three decades, thousands of students have built successful careers in technology, founded venture-backed startups, and created organizations focused on democratizing technology and innovation to build a better future.
Katie Clark Alsadder
Apple Media Helpline