Verizon Hosts Student 'App Challenge'
Winners will work with professionals to turn apps into reality; part of way to encourage science, technology and math education.
After considering 457 concepts for "apps" submitted by high school and middle school students nationwide, the Verizon Foundation selected "Best in State" winners invited to a live webinar. Those finalists will be narrowed down to 10 student teams who will work with professionals from Verizon and Massachusetts Institute of Technology to turn their ideas into reality.
Next Monday, March 18, Verizon will announce the final winners of the Verizon Innovative App Challenge, said Verizon spokeswoman Ellen Yu.
The app concepts were supposed to be aimed at coming up with a solution to solve a social issue in the community or in a school system, she said.
This past week, a live webinar was put together at a studio at Verizon's Basking Ridge location to talk with the “Best In State” winners of the app challenge. The professionals gave insights into what it’s like to work in a STEM-(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related career.
Rose Stuckey Kirk, president of the Verizon Foundation, said students asked questions such as who are the key players in developing an application in a professional environment.
She said that the answer at Verizon was that connectivity for different disciplines was key from creation of an app through understanding capacity and insuring that new applications work for Verizon's network.
Kirk said she believed that between 500 to 1,000 students were part of last week's webcast.
VGo, a “robot” that replicates a person in a distant location was part of the preentation.
The Verizon Foundation hosted a STEM Career Panel webcast for the 70 top-scoring middle and high school teams designated as Best in State winners. The New Jersey winners were from Long Branch High School and Jefferson Township Middle School in Oak Ridge.
The goal of the webcast was to provide students with greater exposure to the career opportunities available for individuals with a STEM background and to help students see the connections between what they are learning in school and the demands of today's high-tech careers, according to information from Verizon.
Verizon employees and executives in STEM jobs offered personal anecdotes noting their STEM-related educational backgrounds and the positive impact science, technology, engineering and/or mathematical skills and practices have had on their careers at Verizon.
During the webinar Verizon employee, Gordana Guranovic, shared how a math teacher in Serbia had motivated her and captured her interest in furthering her studies in math in the U.S., according to information from Verizon. Another employee mentioned how good grades in schools are not a necessity to have a successful career in a STEM-related job; what is important is being passionate and loving to learn.
The webcast was moderated by Rose Stuckey Kirk, president of the Verizon Foundation. The panelists included:
- Nicki Palmer, Chief Technical Officer, Verizon Wireless
- Praveen Atreya, Director, Innovation Program, Verizon Wireless
- Gordana Guranovic, Manager, Device Technology, Verizon Wireless
- Michelle Dutton, Vice President, Corporate Technology, Verizon Communications
- Mariano Legaz, Vice President, Supply Chain Services, Verizon Communications
- Gimbert Richiez, Consultant, Network Operations, Verizon Communications
Students from the Best in State teams were invited to submit questions for the panelists to answer during the webcast. The questions from students included:
- What STEM principles and practices do you use regularly as part of your job?
- What background knowledge and training has most helped you be successful in your current position?
- Why is Verizon going to succeed in the future?
- What type of jobs are available for people with STEM skills?
- What qualities do you look for in the people you hire?
The panel provided a “mentoring” session for students from all across the country to learn about future career opportunities for graduates with STEM skills and knowledge and reinforced that what students are learning today in school will help them find jobs in STEM career areas.
The panelists were able to share, from their experiences and wealth of knowledge, how STEM skills have helped them grow in their careers and how STEM knowledge is helping to make Verizon the technological leader it is today, according to Verizon.
"This is all about getting kids engaged," Yu said afterwards.