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Technovation
April 19, 2016

Meet PA's 2016 Technovation Challenge Participants

Three Teams of Girls Presented Mobile Apps, Pitches to PA Community
by Jenny Barker

On Wednesday, April 27, at 1 p.m., in Pearson C, the three teams of Phillips Academy girls participating in this year’s Technovation Challenge provided the Andover community with an inside look at the mobile apps and business plans they’ve developed. Each team practiced the “pitch” they were slated to present in the Regional Pitch Event on May 4, in Cambridge, MA. Community members in attendance were able to learn about the girls’ innovative projects, provide them with helpful feedback, and cheer them on as they prepared for their first round of competition. The event was hosted by Maria Litvin, Mathematics and Computer Science Instructor at PA, along with PA’s Educational Initiatives and Tang Institute teams.

Phillips Academy’s 2016 Teams

App: “n’ Chill”

Student team members: Deyana Marsh, Natalia Suarez, Darcy Meyer, Diva Harsoor

You are a busy person. With school or work, friends and family, and other responsibilities, you feel that any moment not spent working is wasted. However, studies show that working without breaks causes high levels of stress, which are linked to low productivity. How can one reduce stress while still fulfilling their responsibilities? The answer is n’ Chill, the best new stress-relieving app on the market. The app n’ Chill provides frequent breaks with activities designed for relaxation and focus. N’ Chill includes yoga, meditation, and calming activities to promote the productivity and mental well being of today’s busy individual.

PA’s Head of School John. G Palfrey joined team WoCo during World Pitch 2015 in San Francisco.

PA’s Head of School John. G Palfrey joined team WoCo during World Pitch 2015 in San Francisco.

The Competition

Technovation Challenge is the global competition that engages middle-school and high-school girls from all over the world in learning how to start a company and become high-tech entrepreneurs. Each of the teams includes four or five students and one or two women mentors who are working professionally in technology and business. Maria Litvin, who is again serving as the coach at PA, had first brought the competition to campus during 2015–2016, with support from the Tang Institute and other sources. She was encouraged by what she saw.

“Technovation Challenge gives students the kind of introduction to the computer science field that makes them want more,” says Litvin.

Five enthusiastic PA teams participated last year, with team “Seventh” advancing to the semifinal round and team “WoCo” advancing as one of six—of the 400 total teams who competed from around the world—to the final round in San Francisco. The documentary film “CodeGirl” was produced to chronicle the experiences of the finalist teams.

In the span of just twelve weeks, each team is tasked with accomplishing four key goals:

  • To create a mobile application, either for an Android or an iPhone, that solves a problem in their communities.

  • To think like entrepreneurs by evaluating market research and then creating a business plan to sell their product.

  • To collaborate with a team of people with whom they have not previously worked.

  • To present their work to a panel of judges in a public forum.

For more information on the competition, visit the Technovation Challenge website.

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