Minneapolis, MN (KROC AM News) – Congratulations to the Rochester area girls who competed Saturday in a statewide techy event in Minneapolis.

According to spokesman Richard Bogovich, three teams of middle and high school girls that coded their own cell phone apps fared well at the sixth annual statewide Technovation competition and two Rochester girls received individual scholarship awards.

team from Friedell-Kellogg-Willow Creek Middle Schools - photo from Richard Bogovich
team from Friedell-Kellogg-Willow Creek Middle Schools - photo from Richard Bogovich

The team from St. Francis Catholic School and a Rochester Public Schools team blending girls from Friedell, Kellogg, and Willow Creek Middle Schools were among six qualifiers in the junior division at the event, called the “Appapalooza,” and a team from Stewartville High School was one of the three qualifiers in the senior division. In the next round, each team’s online submission online is judged and compared to those of other qualifiers from similar events coast to coast, and from that pool several will advance to compete at the annual global finals in San Francisco this summer.

All apps coded for Technovation must meet some societal need.

The Stewartville team’s app enables users to track their emotional health daily over time. The St. Francis team’s app features educational games for hospitalized or ill children that encourage positive visualization. The Rochester middle schoolers’ app serves young adults coping with depression.

One girl on the latter team, Anushka Kollengode, was also one of four middle school girls at the competition to win a $250 scholarship in an essay contest.

Anushka Kollengode - photo from Richard Bogovich
Anushka Kollengode - photo from Richard Bogovich

One of the four $1,000 scholarships for high school girls went to Anjali Donthi of Century High School. The four high school recipients will be offered the chance to spend an “immersive” day with GoKart Labs, a technology and design studio in Minneapolis.

Other teams representing the Rochester area at the Appapalooza were from Chatfield, Pine Island, Triton, while within Rochester additional teams drew from John Adams Middle School, Holy Spirit Catholic School, and John Marshall and Mayo High Schools. There were 72 girls on the 21 Rochester-area teams. All told, 87 teams Minnesota teams comprised of 348 girls competed at the 2019 Appapalooza.

The 72 girls in and near Rochester were mentored by 40 professionals, most notably from the Mayo Clinic and IBM. That means there was one mentor for every two students.

A year ago a Rochester Public Schools Technovation team sponsored by the local chapter of the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) was a qualifier at the Appapalooza and also qualified automatically as a semifinalist in the in the 14th annual Minnesota Cup business startup competition held by the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. That team of five high school girls won the $10,000 Sunrise Banks prize at the conclusion of the Minnesota Cup competition in October.

In 2017 a different RPS high school team sponsored by the BDPA, called SKeMAS, became a first runner-up globally and was awarded $5,000 in scholarship money as a result. In 2015, a team from Kasson-Mantorville Middle School was one of only four finalists in its division worldwide at the global finals held in San Francisco.

What is Technovation [MN]? A 12-week program that connects professional mentors to all-girl teams to enable girls to dream up, design, and code mobile phone apps. Coaches keep the teams on track with the support of a few professional mentors. Each team of up to five girls develops a real-world combination of technical and entrepreneurial skills as they code an app and prepare to pitch their idea at Minnesota's statewide event each May, the Appapalooza. Selected teams have the opportunity to advance and compete in the global Technovation Challenge, as did a middle school team from Kasson-Mantorville in 2015 (which also led to participating in the 2016 White House Science Fair).

Technovation was brought to Southeastern MN by Code Savvy, Technovation[MN], Preventice Technologies (Rochester office), and STEM Forward (formerly the Rochester Area Math Science Partnership), a program of the Southeast Service Cooperative. Among Rochester area businesses it has received financial support from IBM and the Mayo Clinic.

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