Apple celebrates WWDC21 Swift Student Challenge winners

"This year, we are incredibly proud that more young women applied and won than ever before, and we are committed to doing everything we can to nurture this progress and reach true gender parity."

What you need to know

  • Apple has celebrated three winners of the WWDC21 Swift Student Challenge.
  • They are Damilola Awofisayo, Gianna Yan, and Abinaya Dinesh.
  • Apple says that more young women applied and won in this year's challenge than ever before.

Apple has today announced three of the winners of its WWDC21 Swift Student Challenge ahead of WWDC next week.

In a press release the company stated

When Apple's 2021 Worldwide Developers Conference convenes for its second year in an all-virtual format, a very special group of young people — 350 Swift Student Challenge winners from 35 different countries and regions — will be among the millions of global attendees. The winners were selected as part of Apple's annual WWDC student challenge, each demonstrating their coding and problem-solving skills by submitting an original Swift playground to earn a spot.

Apple's Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing Susan Prescott said "Every year, we are inspired by the talent and ingenuity that we see from our Swift Student Challenge applicants", stating that Apple was incredibly proud that this year "more young women applied and won than ever before." Apple says it is "committed to doing everything we can to nurture this progress and reach true gender parity."

Three of the winners highlighted by Apple were Damilola Awofisayo, Gianna Yan, and Abinaya Dinesh:

Among this group are three young women who are not only using technology to solve real-world problems, but are actively involved in teaching the next generation to do the same. They're simultaneously blazing their own trail while making sure others have the tools to follow in their footsteps — all before they've graduated high school.

Yan created an app for her immunocompromised grandparents called Feed Fleet, which pairs volunteers with at-risk individuals to deliver goods right to their doorstep. She is also designing an app to help students report incidents of sexual assault on school campuses, and another to assist women in detecting heart disease and breast cancer self-examinations.

Dinesh created a 'Gastro at Home' app, which will launch on the App Store later this summer to help people with gastrointestinal disorders access information and resources.

Awofisayo created a nonprofit called TecHacks:

Damilola Awofisayo, 17, of Woodbridge, Virginia, loves hackathons — the events where programmers come together to create software under strict time constraints. But after a run of applying to a few of them last year and not getting in, she and a friend decided to start their own. The result was TecHacks, a nonprofit that describes its mission as "creating a supportive environment for girls everywhere to create, problem-solve, and showcase their talents alongside like-minded females to compete and work with." Open to women and nonbinary individuals, the organization's first hackathon, in August 2020, virtually brought together more than 800 participants from over 60 countries. The international outreach was especially important to Awofisayo, who was born in the US but spent part of her childhood in Nigeria.

You can read the full announcement here. Apple's WWDC21 conference kicks off next week on June 7.

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Technology