15-year old from New Jersey wins Apple’s Swift Student Challenge

Abinaya Dinesh, 15 created an app called Gastro at Home with resources for people with gastrointestinal disorders. photo courtesy – Apple

Apple on June 1 declared three winners of its Worldwide Developers Conference 2021 (WWDC21) Swift Student Challenge.  

Winners Abinaya Dinesh, Damilola Awofisayo, and Gianna Yan are using Apple technology to tackle challenging issues, and helping the next generation do the same.

They were selected by demonstrating their coding and problem-solving skills by submitting an original Swift playground to earn a spot, according to a press release from Apple.


Indian-American high schooler Dinesh from North Brunswick, New Jersey is among the 350 Swift Student Challenge winners from 35 different countries and regions which will be declared at the online-only WWDC21 from June 7-11.

Dinesh, 15 is passionate about the intersection of medicine and technology — something that became personal for her last year, according to the release.

She said she went to a gastroenterologist and was diagnosed with a pelvic floor disorder but then told her nothing about how she was supposed to get better.

In response, Dinesh, created an app called Gastro at Home, which she plans to launch on the App Store this summer. The app offers people with gastrointestinal disorders a way to access information and resources, especially because those types of conditions can sometimes be sensitive to talk about.

Over the last year, Dinesh has also started her own nonprofit, Impact AI, to foster learning and ethical practices in artificial intelligence among young people. As part of it, she launched an eight-week high school program, called Girls in AI, to teach young women the basics of programming and machine learning.

“I’m super big on teaching,” Dinesh was quoted saying. “Showing the next generation that this technology exists and can lead to huge advancements in medicine and society is so important. And I’m proud that after the program was over, there were seniors applying to college who told me this experience changed what their major was going to be.”

After she graduates high school, Dinesh has her sights set on either medical school or a degree in computer science so she can keep finding new ways to use technology to advance the medical field.

“I think it’s important that we keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible,” said Dinesh, “because nobody is going to do it for us.”

Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Enterprise and Education Marketing said, “Every year, we are inspired by the talent and ingenuity that we see from our Swift Student Challenge applicants. 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.”




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