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Chatfield team named one of 14 US semifinalists in global app-building challenge

Even if the students don’t go on to careers in technology, the Technovation experience is still one that’s preparing them for their futures.

Chatfield High School Technovation Team
The Chatfield High School Technovation team, from left, Lillian Hanson, Josie Koenigs, Elizabeth Schieffelbein and Ana da Silva are pictured Thursday, June 23, 2022, in Chatfield. Hanson, Koenigs and Schieffelbein will be seniors in the fall and da Silva is going into her junior year.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
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CHATFIELD — For a group of Chatfield high school students, the team name “{App}ly Yourself” was a fitting choice.

The group of four girls is one of 14 senior-division teams from the U.S. to become semifinalists in a global app-building competition, Technovation. For their project, {App}ly Yourself created an app designed to help people live more sustainably, providing resources in a number of different ways through their app.

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The students include upcoming seniors Elizabeth Schieffelbein, Josie Koenigs and Lillian Hanson, as well as upcoming junior Ana da Silva.

“Every single one of them is incredibly involved and succeeds in every single thing that they’re in,” the team’s advisor, Jessica Hanson, said. “They are dedicated and passionate about Technovation.”

The group built the app around sustainability, calling it SustainAid. It contains information about recycling, upcycling, and composting.

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Need information on sustainable brands? The app has that for you. Want to know where to find community gardens or farmers markets? Well, the app has that too.

“That’s kind of what the app was supposed to be, accessible sustainability all in one place,” Lillian Hanson said. “We’re doing the research so the customers don’t have to.”

The app isn’t available to the public yet. They still have more work they want to do, including incorporating the suggestions they’ve received from the competition judges. For example, even though the app has a map function, it’s currently focused on the local area. They want to expand it.

The challenge is hosted by the organization Technovation, which works to develop entrepreneurship among girls. The teams are divided into three categories, depending on their ages: beginner, junior and senior. Across all divisions, there were roughly 1,700 teams.

Even if the students don’t go on to careers in technology, the Technovation experience is still one that’s preparing them for their futures. In addition to the technical skills of coding and building the app, the challenge requires skills such as presentation and compiling a business plan.

“I think that will help with all future careers,” Koenigs said.

The other students reiterated that as well, describing the various steps they had to take to create the app.

“I think this app was very research intensive because it has so much information,” da Silva said. “We needed to find reliable sources on how to compost or on what the good sustainable brands are.”

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According to Richard Bogovich from Technovation, Rochester-area teams have had “considerable success” throughout the years of the competition. In 2015, a Kasson-Mantorville team qualified for the global finals in San Francisco. And just last year, three Rochester high school students advanced to the finals for developing an app meant to help young children prepare for surgery.

This year's Chatfield team is still waiting to find out if they can scrape their way to the finalist round. Regardless of what happens next, though, the team is thrilled to have made it as far as they have.

“Personally, I’m just glad that we’ve made it this far,” Schieffelbein said. “I’m really happy with how our team has done. Obviously it would be great to go on, but I’m just really proud of us and how far we’ve come already.”

Related Topics: EDUCATIONCHATFIELD
Jordan Shearer covers K-12 education for the Post Bulletin. A Rochester native, he graduated from Bemidji State University in 2013 before heading out to write for a small newsroom in the boonies of western Nebraska. Bringing things full circle, he returned to Rochester in 2020 just shy of a decade after leaving. Readers can reach Jordan at 507-285-7710 or jshearer@postbulletin.com.
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