News & Features

First App-Building Challenge Deemed a Success

Montana teams competed to take home scholarship prizes for coding projects

Code Girls United held their first competition in Kalispell last weekend, and the results showed a deep pool of Montana teams developing apps with solutions for real-world problems.

The Northwest Regional App Challenge took place at Flathead Valley Community College May 11-12, and was the first time the Code Girls United in Kalispell have hosted such a competition.

The event was free and open to girls who have completed a coding project, such as an app, website, or robotics. They presented their projects like they would at a science fair. If they made the semifinals, they then made a presentation in front of a panel of judges.

This year’s panel of judges included angel investor Liz Marchi; Veronika Neely, computer science professor at Montana State University; venture capitalist Michael Goguen; and Leland Johnson, the CEO for ExcelliMatrix.

First place went to Taylor Pooton of the team Dynasty Code, for her project, Student Scan, a real-time tracking system to notify parents or schools when kids have gotten on and off a bus, entered a building, or a classroom. Her project was coded with Javascript, HTML, CSS, and used RFID tags; it also included software and specialized hardware.

Second place went to team Helping Hand Coders — made up of Emma Anderson, Kyra Hutchison, and Trinity Hutchison — for Sitting Still Will Make You Ill, an app that gives you a timer to tell the user when it’s time to get up and exercise as well as giving the user information on which exercises are best and why you should do them.

Third place went to the Coding Corgis, a team made up of Meara Greer and Abby Stills, for building a self-driving robotic system to help non-driving people.

The winners received scholarship prizes: $5,000 for first place, $2,500 for second place, and $1,000 for third place.

Girls in fourth through eighth grade can participate in Code Girls United, which teaches the fundamentals of computer science and then builds on those foundations to move on to inventing real-world apps.

For more information, visit www.codegirlsunited.org.