As a part of its focus on improving STEM learning in the United States, Verizon Foundation conducts the annual Verizon Innovative App Challenge, in partnership with the Technology Student Association, to encourage students to use technology to help solve problems impacting their communities.
For the past two years, Finn Partners has supported each stage of the App Challenge – generating media coverage to enlist teachers and students to enter the competition, promoting local and regional winners, and following the winning teams as they work with the MIT Media Lab to develop their app concepts.
In 2014, one of the winning teams from Resaca Middle School was featured in People Magazine and People.com for its winning app concept “Hello Navi,” which was developed by a team of 6th grade girls to help a blind classmate. The People feature was leveraged to solidify an invitation for the girls to the White House Science Fair, where they met the President and showcased their app. They were subsequently featured by MSNBC, and CNN New Day. As a result of our efforts, student teams nationwide – and with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests – submitted more than 770 app concepts, the most in the history of the Innovative App Challenge. Nearly 1,300 teams entered the contest, and almost 40 percent of them were from underserved schools. The media coverage resulting from the campaign has drawn significant attention to Verizon Foundation’s continued initiative to get students excited about STEM subject areas.