Boston Students Develop an App-etite for STEM through Guppy Tank Program
Last week, more than 400 Boston Public Schools students came together to try their hands at app development through a unique learning program called Guppy Tank. The educational, hands-on experience paired students with partners from 20 tech companies across Greater Boston, inspiring creative ideas while teaching valuable technical skills for the future.
Piloted by Salsify and run by Building Impact in collaboration with Tech Underwriting Greater Good (TUGG) and Boston Public Schools, the event is designed to cultivate student interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Throughout the day-long activity, students worked together to brainstorm unique app ideas, develop a pitch deck, and even outline key development details such as target audience and marketing strategy. When their work was done, students then pitched their ideas to a panel of investors, imitating ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank.”
“Through the volunteer training, classroom brainstorming, and presentation coaching from executive judges, we saw an amazing day unfold,” said Bridget Akinc, CEO of Building Impact. “The hundreds of tech industry volunteers partnered with educators in creating a day that offered way more than an office tour or career panel could – these students got to see how they can bring their ideas to life, and imagine a future when they are members of this tech ecosystem.”
Guppy Tank is part of a broader volunteering initiative known as Tech Gives Back, the largest volunteering event in the tech ecosystem – organized by TUGG, the nonprofit arm of Boston’s tech community. The first iteration of the event took place in 2016, with just 30 “guppies” but with generous support from The Boston Foundation and BNY Mellon has grown explosively into the 400-student program seen this year.
“Guppy Tank provides our sixth-grade students the rare opportunity to experience STEM hands-on, while learning valuable problem solving and analytical skills,” said Makeeba McCreary, Managing Director and Senior Advisor of External Affairs at Boston Public Schools. “Aligning this year’s app challenge with healthy living and the sixth-grade curriculum helps reinforce classroom lessons while getting these students excited about a potential future career in Boston’s rich tech scene.”
A huge thank you to everyone at Salsify, TUGG, Building Impact, and our partnering tech companies for helping reinforce Boston’s commitment to STEM learning and opportunities.
“This year, we were proud to see 20 Boston tech companies open their doors to students to participate in Guppy Tank. By participating in this innovative program, companies are walking the walk and investing time and energy into the future workforce of the city,” noted Mike Cole, Executive Director of TUGG.
You can read more about the day’s events, the program’s beginnings, and the amazing people who make it possible here. Continue reading for photos and reactions from the day:
“My favorite moment was seeing the students light up when they had an idea – seeing their hands shoot up and their engagement was fantastic. Their presentations were also fantastic – seeing their pride was awesome.” Globoforce volunteer working with students from Roosevelt
“This has been a great experience for my students as well as for me. It was great to see the different companies that are located here in Boston and now students can keep an eye out for Nift whenever they go places. My students also enjoyed the app creation experience and can understand that they shouldn’t be taken for granted. Some of them were hoping to see their app go live and be able to download them from an app store. When they found out we didn’t go through the ENTIRE process, they vowed they would continue the process on their own to make it happen! I’ll let you know when that comes to fruition!” Mary Lyon teacher whose students participated in Guppy Tank at Nift
“Thank you for providing such a high-quality experience. The folks at Hopper were absolutely amazing and my students had a terrific educational experience.” Tech Boston teacher whose students participated in Guppy Tank at Hopper