Aditya Nandyal first encountered the idea of an Ecological Footprint in his advanced human geography class, but he wanted to learn more about how to walk the Earth more lightly.
A sophomore at Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette, he used his interest to develop an interactive app called “Objective Green” and enter it into a contest.
“I wanted to help raise awareness about ecological footprints, what it means and what to do with it,” he said.
Aditya recently won first place in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District App Challenge. Peak to Peak sophomores Yosha and Avanti Gautam also took second place, while a junior from Fort Collins took third place.
“I have been incredibly inspired by the innovation and creativity displayed in this year’s Congressional App Challenge submissions,” Congressman Joe Neguse wrote in a press release. “This year’s winners not only showed off their talented coding skills, but truly focused on issues of national and community importance, advancing causes they are passionate about.”
Peak to Peak students said they liked the openness of the app competition.
“You can make an app for anything,” Aditya said. “It can be a game or something practical.”
His app has two parts, calculating a person’s ecological footprint and a place to grab household items to see if they’re recyclable. People can check back after making changes to see if their environmental footprint has improved.
He took a course over the summer that taught him how to code with the Swift programming language, and he used that knowledge to code his app.
“I wanted to see how much I had learned,” he said.
He added that he was able to get his project finished to a point where it’s “almost an exact replica” of what he envisioned.
Yosha and Avanti have developed an app called “AI Apprentice”, an interactive game that teaches artificial intelligence through social problems.
“We wanted to introduce AI to middle school and high school seniors,” Yosha said. “It’s such a daunting topic, but it’s important. AI is part of so many things.
Avanti said he coded the app using Unity and C sharp – and had no experience with either.
“There was a learning curve,” she said.
She became interested in artificial intelligence through a science project in eighth grade.
“It gave me an idea of how big it is and how many people are unaware of the impact,” she said. “All of that was the inspiration.”