2015 PFIG Recipient Acacia Dai
Journal Entry #3
The last two weeks of All Star Code were spent working on final projects and preparing for Demo Day. These projects challenged the students to work in groups, apply what they had learned in the previous four weeks, and research other technologies and methods on their own. Some of the projects were:
YourHair: A webapp allowing you to take a photo of yourself and drag and drop different hairstyles, with controls to adjust the hair so that it fits your photo portrait.
Howl: A chat website for students to “howl” for help on homework, grouped by subject.
Novus: A portal and newsfeed for a student’s school news, announcements, calendar, and sports.
Briplo: An encrypted chat website that requires Facebook verification to log in and shows fake messages until a password is entered.
A few days before Demo Day, we had everyone “freeze” their code and work on creating posters and pitches. For many students, this would be their first time preparing for a major public speaking event. I worked one-on-one with a group that was particularly challenged with their pitch, and guided them in working towards projecting confidence on stage.
When Demo Day finally came, the students were nervous but excited. We all traveled together to Google Headquarters and began setting up the project stations. Soon, parents, tech company execs, and other guests began arriving. After an introduction from All Star Code’s founder, the student groups began presenting.
Every single pitch went perfectly! The students spoke from the heart, were so enthusiastic, and went above and beyond all expectations! Given how easy it is for a pitch to run into issues, it was truly fantastic how smoothly everything went. In particular, two students who were incredibly shy and quiet on the first day of the program gave their pitches perfectly! After pitching, the students gave live demonstrations of their projects at their stations. Seeing them show off their six weeks’ worth of hard work made me so proud.
On the wrap-up day after Demo Day, I found out that two students had been in talks with an entrepreneur throughout the whole program and actually managed to land internship positions with him! They are now working on building a magazine reader app. Two other students will be attending Penn Apps, one of the largest hackathons in the U.S. Several more will be helping to organize their own local hackathon, along with All Star Code alumni from the first summer.