PA Girls
December 06, 2016

PA Girls: It's Technovation Time!

Sign up Now for Technovation Challenge; Attend Kickoff Event Dec. 10
by Jenny Corke

On Saturday, December 10, 2016, local teams participating in Technovation Challenge 2017 will gather at the Microsoft NERD Center in Cambridge, Mass., to meet one another and female tech entrepreneurs. This year’s competition will challenge participants to build mobile apps that advance the United Nations Development Program’s Sustainable Development Goals of building peace and seeking solutions to issues of poverty, environment, education, equality, and health.

If you are a PA girl interested in participating in the kickoff event and competition, you are encouraged to register online by Friday, December 9. The final deadline to sign up for the competition is Friday, December 16.

Address World Issues, Develop Professional Skills

Technovation Challenge is a global competition that engages middle-school and high-school girls from all over the world in learning how to address real-world problems through technology. This year the Mathematics Department and Educational Initiatives team are managing the event for PA, with support from the Tang Institute. Erin McCloskey, associate director of Educational Initiatives, is serving as the coach. Each of the teams will include four or five students and one or two women mentors who have experience in technology and business.

“In startups, I’ve seen many people pivot from what they studied in college because they weren’t offered practical experience until their first job,” said a former team mentor, Michelle Darby ’07, CEO of Roomzilla, a company she cofounded to provide a cloud-based, dynamic solution for managing conference room reservations. “Technovation Challenge offers that kind of experience. These students are already exploring many of the tools, skills, and processes we use daily in the professional world to build real products and companies.”

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 related to the UN’s Sustainable Development goals.
  • 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.

Team WoCo advanced to the finals in 2015 and was featured in the documentary CodeGirls.

Team WoCo advanced to the finals in 2015 and was featured in the documentary CodeGirls.

“We learned from Technovation that the skills we have developed go beyond just the competition; they are with us for life and we want to put them to good use,” said a former PA participant from team Seventh.

A total of three PA teams participated last year in the 2016 competition, developing a variety of mobile apps that promoted well-being on campus. For more information on PA’s previous entries, visit the Tang Institute website; to learn about the global competition, visit Technovation Challenge.

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