SEM Shark Tank
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Taking on the tech world; one girl team at a time.
SEM students and faculty disguised themselves as Shark Tank’s reality TV investors, Mr. Wonderful and Mark Cuban, in the chapel this past Wednesday while SEM entrepreneurs pitched their app ideas to the SEM community. (The investors in the television show Shark Tank are pitched ideas from entrepreneurs world wide seeking offers.)
Just like on the network television show, the tank was filled with eager sharks looking for the perfectly APPetizing bait that would improve the student body. Investors voted on their favorite prey to capture and utilize at SEM. “It was cool listening to the different presentations and pretending to be an investor from Shark Tank” said Brooke Gannon ’17.
‘WeServe,’ ‘Tradely,’ and ‘LivEcho’ were presented by students of the Tech Entrepreneurship elective class taught by Beth Adamaczyk and Erin Kelly. The nine girls in class broke into three teams of three and each created an app that would make life at SEM a little easier. “The apps were designed to benefit SEM students and that is really awesome” said Grace Cloherty ’17, and she added, “the fact that the girls had not only the opportunity, but the drive, support, and tools to make their apps says a lot about the tenacity of the SEM community as a whole.”
WeServe is an app coded and marketed by Amanda Lee ’17, Alicia Land ’19, and Anna Brach ’19. The entrepreneurs saw that there needed to be an technological improvement for SEM students to access community service opportunities through the Community Service Board. According to the mission statement provided in their presentation, their “mission is to provide SEM students with an efficient and easy way to use an app that helps show them their hours and upcoming service opportunities with the touch of a button.”
Currently SEM students access information for service opportunities through morning meeting presentations and a small community service bulletin board that is neglected by many students because it is forgotten about. With this app, students will be able to fulfill their required service hours in order to graduate easily by using a free and simple app made by students who understand the struggle!
The creators of this app faced many challenges along the way that were great learning lessons for them. This hands on opportunity allowed for students to problem solve under the pressure to create a successful app. They faced difficulties with their apps logo and through trial and error and surveys, they finally reached their final logo based on the research that they had to construct.
Anna Brach ’19 and Alicia Land ’19 coded the application through block coding on the MIT App Inventor. “The biggest challenge was coding the app, seeing what we wanted to do and narrowing it down to what we actually were capable of accomplishing using the application we used,” said Alicia. This intricate coding allowed for her to grow a greater appreciation. “I didn’t realize how much work went into coding and marketing an app for basic uses.”
Tradely is an app that was coded and marketed by Veronica Zhang ’19, Vicky Li ’17, and Miriam Ings ’19. The entrepreneurs brainstormed and created a platform that allows for students to have face-to-face trading within SEM. Students can submit items such as textbooks, calculators, stationary and many other items including graduation dresses. “By displaying a form for users to fill information about their items and the items they want to trade for, Tradely helps students save on the cost of school supplies and effectively recycle.
Affording a graduation dress is difficult especially because it is a long white dress that will probably only be worn once and then hung up in a closet to never be touched again. This app can help girls recycle their dresses and make everyone feel beautiful at graduation. This would also eliminate the stress that goes along with finding an affordable long white dress that meets SEM standards for that big day!
This app is the only of its kind when compared to competitors. Poshmark, ebay, Mercari are public applications that allow for people to get rid of unwanted items but it requires spending money or earning a profit. Tradely is a free app that would only be open for SEM students. The app requires no money, just the trading of one item to another. The Tradely app is “a unique idea that I would personally love to use so that I wouldn’t have to buy an expensive textbook myself,” said LucyMarie Gaulin ’17.
The Tradely app had a huge fan base which included sophomore Olivya Hogan’s handmade poster that she created to support her friends. Olivya said that her favorite part about the presentations was definitely “seeing my friends and peers being so proud and excited about all of their work, because they all worked so hard and really deserved their shining moment of showing off their products.”
LivEcho is an app coded and marketed by Vicky Song ’17, Tara Tang ’17 and Miao Yu ’17. This group of entrepreneurs are residential students who noticed that signing out in the front office of SEM has become a huge hassle when the residential girls just want to go grab a coffee on Elmwood or just go anywhere during their free time. Tara said that her and her group members find it “annoying to search for the sign in/out book. Also, teachers need to change the paper which wastes time and paper.”
This app allows for students to sign in and out of the SEM campus with the click of a button on their hand held devices. The app displays where each student is on the app so that house advisers are aware of where the students are and students can see where their friends are and meet up with them. This app makes the lives of residential students and advisers much easier. The makers of the app hope to connect GPS to the app so that someone can track the location of the students at all times so they don’t need to specify exactly where they plan on going. This creates a more safe and efficient way for residential students to roam around their community.
The team faced technical problem due to their ideas being hard to code. Tara said she discovered that she would do better in the designing and marketing field because coding was very difficult for her. She learned a lot from this project including, “how to make good marketing plans, analyze feedback from surveys, and the most important thing, to communicate and work with teams members.”
Students realized that the work done by their peers was truly amazing and fun to watch. The presentations “show the type of environment SEM has. As a business owner myself, I see the importance in teaching high school girls technology literacy, as well as the business aspect of making pitches to an audience and marketing a product,” said LucyMarie Gaulin ’17.