Minnesota Middle School App Developers Demo At White House Science Fair


Via News Release

“(WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 13, 2016) — Kasson-Mantorville Middle School students and Technovation Global Challenge participants Lydia Mindermann and Andrea Richards are presenting their family-friendly stress-reduction app at the 6th Annual White House Science Fair in Washington, D.C. on April 13 – showing off the fruits of more than a year of hard work in the highest-profile setting available to middle school app developers.”

Mindermann and Richards were invited to share their story alongside dozens of other ambitious young techies who’ve devoted months or years to tackling some of the world’s most pressing problems, from climate change and chronic disease to global poverty and spaceflight.

“We are so proud of Lydia and Andrea, and are delighted that they will have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share their community-focused app at the White House,” said Tara Chklovski, CEO of Iridescent, Technovation Global Challenge’s nonprofit parent organization. “These young women, alongside their Technovation peers, have already proven that they’re ready and eager to apply their new entrepreneurial skills and can-do spirit to solve tomorrow’s problems and we are proud to support them.”

Rochester-area developers Mindermann and Richards represent two-thirds of Team Furst Class, a 2015 Technovation Global Challenge finalist and Audience Choice Award winner. Mindermann, Richards, and fellow developer Rylee Melius beat out nearly 400 other teams of middle- and high-schoolers from around the world – as far away as Nigeria, Brazil and India – to join just three other middle school teams and six high school teams as Technovation Global Challenge finalists. The 10 teams presented to a panel of tech industry executives at Technovation’s World Pitch Summit, held in San Francisco last June.

Team Furst Class’s app, Mayo FreeTime, helps Mayo Clinic patients and family members pass time and stay positive between appointments in and around Mayo’s Rochester campus. Locally, Mayo FreeTime was recognized by Mayo Clinic itself and featured in multiple media outlets, including WCCO Radio and the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

Sponsored at Kasson-Mantorville Middle School by teacher Sharie Furst and mentored by Rochester-area IBMer Kris Kendall, Team Furst Class began developing Mayo FreeTime in late 2014. They worked alongside more than 25 other Minnesota teams – and well over 100 girls overall – to prepare for Technovation[MN]’s Appapalooza, one of the largest World Pitch Summit feeder events in the United States.

At Appapalooza 2015, held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, Team Furst Class pitched to over 100 attendees – mentors, teachers, parents, fellow students, community members and media professionals – in a dry run for the international event.

About Technovation[MN]

Technovation[MN], an initiative of Minneapolis-based 501(c)3 Code Savvy, brings the Technovation Global Challenge to Minnesota. As one of the world’s largest regional initiatives devoted to preparing young women for the Technovation Global Challenge, Technovation[MN] has directly or indirectly impacted more than 600 Minnesota middle- and high-schoolers, along with more than 1,000 parents, teachers, mentors and community members. Its signature pitch event, Appapalooza, is the culmination of a 12-week period during which mentors and coaches guide small teams through every stage of the app development process, from ideation and market research to coding, testing, pitch planning and presentation.

This year’s Appapalooza is scheduled for May 1 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Ticket announcement to follow; members of the media are welcome.

About Iridescent and Technovation Challenge

Since 2006, Iridescent, a global nonprofit organization, has been empowering girls and children to embrace science, technology and engineering (STEM) through its Technovation and Curiosity Machine programs respectively. Every year, Technovation challenges girls all over the world to build a mobile app that will address a community problem. Since 2010, over 10,000 girls across 72 countries have participated in Technovation. The program provides computer science professional development for teachers, mentors and parents to better engage and support girls to become technology innovators and entrepreneurs. Indicative of its growth, the Technovation Challenge was recently profiled in the newly released documentary CodeGirl, directed by Lesley Chilcott.