NAF high school students Lydia O. and Lindsay T. care deeply about inclusiveness in public health. These two young women noticed a lack of health education centered around communities and schools in the US facing under investment. In an effort to provide easy-to-access resources on mental and sexual health for LGBTQ+ and people of color, the two developed the Destigmatizing Healthcare mobile phone application.
The mobile app was named the 2021 “Fan Favorite” in the national Lenovo Scholar Network mobile app development competition. The winning team was chosen out of five team finalists by online voters and received Lenovo X1 Carbon laptops and other prizes.
About the Winners
This past academic year was challenging for the rising high school juniors from Enloe High School, Academy of Health Sciences, in Raleigh, NC, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and distance learning. While working on this project together, they never actually met in person. Lydia and Lindsay said that communication in a virtual world made teamwork feel different, but the two learned to trust each other and share tasks in the development of their mobile app.
The students have big goals. Lydia’s dream is to invent technology that helps erase health inequities and would like to be the future director of the World Health Organization. Lindsay, a childhood cancer survivor, aspires to be an ER doctor and then a congresswoman.
About the Lenovo Scholar Network
The mobile app competition is part of the Lenovo Scholar Network, a partnership that Lenovo and NAF created in 2014 to encourage greater interest in STEM subjects, among high school students in under-invested in communities, while enabling them with the entrepreneurial and technology skills needed to pursue careers in computer science, programming, and engineering. NAF is a national network of education, business, and community leaders who work together to ensure that high school students are college, career, and future ready.
In its first year, 10 NAF IT academies were invited with a goal of reaching 250 students, surpassing that goal by serving more than 400 students nationwide. As the Lenovo Scholar Network prepares to enter its eighth year, it is expected to serve more than 6,000 NAF students across the country. In conjunction with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) App Inventor, a project within the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), Lenovo Scholar Network students have the opportunity to use MIT App Inventor to develop Android mobile apps using Lenovo devices. NAF and MIT work together to provide technical assistance to teachers in the Lenovo Scholar Network and to develop support materials for teachers using MIT App Inventor.
This year’s Mobile App Development Competition included teams of students from NAF academies across the United States, who spent months developing applications that will be of service in their classrooms and communities. During a continued time of uncertainty – and needing to pivot to do their work differently – these young people demonstrated innovation, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills, as they adjusted to a second school year that was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to Destigmatizing Healthcare, the other four winning app teams from the national competition who presented were:
- Mallard Creek High School, Academy of Engineering, Charlotte, NC
- A password management app that helps users avoid being hacked, by instantly generating and saving a secure and random password.
- South Dade Senior High School, Academy of Information Technology, Miami, FL
- A budgeting and finance app that allows young people to review their monthly spending, calculate a tip, and learn more about saving money and budgeting effectively.
- Clarence High School, Academy of Business and Finance, Clarence, NY
- An app designed to provide easy access to free tutoring to help alleviate the difficulties that come with transitioning to remote learning.
- Orosi High School, Academy of Engineering and Green Technology, Orosi, CA
- An app that provides students with crucial information in the event of an emergency at their high school.
NAF works with high need communities to transform the high school experience through an educational design that includes industry-specific curricula, work-based learning experiences, and relationships with business professionals, culminating in a paid internship. NAF academies fit within and enhance school systems, allowing NAF to become an integral part of a plan for higher achievement at a low cost. NAF academies focus on one of five career pathways: finance, hospitality & tourism, information technology, engineering, and health sciences. During the 2020-21 school year, over 117,000 students attended 619 NAF academies across 34 states, plus DC, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. In 2020, NAF academies reported 99% of seniors graduated with 87% of graduates planning to go to college. For more information, please visit: http://naf.org/