Local girls start prep for international tech challenge

On Saturday, the YWCA in Youngstown held a "Technovation Challenge" Crash Day

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Building a better community with a few lines of code.

On Saturday, the YWCA in Youngstown held a “Technovation Challenge” Crash Day — an introduction to the international challenge (with a $10,000 cash prize) that involves girls ages 12-18 creating an app and business model that would benefit their community.

“They have to identify a community need,” said Jennie Andrews, YWCA youth program manager. “And then they have to create an application that not only meets that community need, but also creates revenue.”

Patrice Ellis, 17, Talea Fulton, 15, and Brianna Hall, 12, are first-time coders and make up Youngstown’s Technovation team.

technocrash000000They learned the basics on Saturday.

“Technology is everything to me,” Ellis said. “Because everything is on Facebook, Google, Twitter, Snapchat — it’s like everything.”

The hard part — aside from coding — is figuring out how to help the community.

“If I could choose anything, it would probably be bullying,” Fulton said. “There’s a lot of bullying going on and I’d probably do a bullying awareness app.”

Even though the girls just met Saturday, they’re already becoming fast friends.

“It’s nice that I actually have something in common with people,” Hall said. “And that I share a common quality with them.”

technocrash_3_000000Michael Perry will be coaching the girls throughout the challenge, which doesn’t start until January.

He works at a tech firm in downtown Youngstown and said that events like these are incredibly important.

“There are some barriers there in tech that we need to overcome,” Perry said. “I think participating in the Technovation Challenge and helping young women in this area have an interest in computers and computer science is definitely going to help break down that barrier.”

Any girls who are interested in participating should contact the YWCA at 330-746-6361 to join.

Check out the official Technovation Challenge website or visit their Facebook.