Murphy Student is App-lying Himself
Murphy student, Andre Williams started his Congressional App Challenge project with Wylie High School classmate, Davis Okuzor, three weeks before the submissions were due. Their computer programming teacher, Chris Bogle told the class about the challenge. In December of 2017, Williams, while in physics class, was called to the office. While walking to the office, he wondered if he was in trouble, and even when seeing a collection of Wylie ISD administration staff gathered, he was unsure as to the meaning behind the gathering. It wasn’t until he saw his project partner, Okuzor, did he realize they had won the challenge. Included in the celebratory group was U.S. Congressman Pete Sessions. Sessions represents Texas's 32nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Williams said that Sessions gave a brief presentation congratulating the students stating that he personally has a need for the app that Williams and Okuzor created. Williams said that he felt excited, proud and motivated upon receiving the award.
The name of their app is “Closing Intelligence”. Cell phone users can choose contacts they would like to be notified when their cell phone battery is about to die. They select at which point in battery life the notification will be sent, i.e. 4%. Williams said, “It gives the person on the other end closure to know: ‘she’s not mad at me, she’s not dead, she just has a phone problem.” This message can eliminate stress when a person is not responding to communication.
Williams, Ozukor and Bogle flew to Washington D.C. to attend The Congressional App Challenge House of Code Demo Day and reception held April 9-13. During this event, they met with Congressman Sessions who is helping them make the app publicly accessible as well as providing valuable contacts. They presented their app, with all the other districts’ challenge winners, to corporate sponsors and congress members. Williams said, “It was like a huge science fair.” One day was designated to attending educational courses. Williams attended courses led by Microsoft, a representative from the U.S. patent office and a lobbyist for education and others. He also received resources on high school and college intern programs. They had a day to tour Washington D.C. on their own.
Congressman Sessions said, “I was pleased to see Andre Williams and Davis Okuzor from Wylie High School again. They were in Washington D.C. for the celebration of the Congressional App Challenge winners from each district across the nation. I am proud to have such smart, innovative students in my district... I also applaud the efforts of their teacher, Chris Bogle, for introducing his students to STEM education and allowing them to pursue opportunities within those fields. Congratulations again to these young men, I can’t wait to see what else they accomplish in the future.” (sessions.house.gov)
Sessions invited Williams to attend a leadership and growth program with 12 other students from this district. He will attend the program this summer.
From June 10 – July 6, Williams attended Leangap, a program designed for high school kids to start a business in one summer. 2,000 students applied worldwide and only 40 were selected. Ideas for businesses were chosen and the group was divided into smaller groups and assigned to a business based on their skill set.
Williams was assigned to a business that had a goal to make the vegan lifestyle sustainable and offer a balanced diet. Their group of seven had members from Japan, Kenya, England, California and Murphy, TX. They named their business Acumeal which is a blended word describing their product ‘accurate meal’.
They researched their target market by surveying vegans via social media and in face-to-face meetings.
Williams said, “Vegans go on our platform and take a personalized quiz where we then utilize our machine learning algorithm that develops a personalized meal plan for that specific person which is also backed by a professional nutritionist who is working with our company.” A sample of a daily menu for an actual customer is: breakfast – Avocado Bruschetta, lunch – Chick Pea Curry and dinner – Quinoa Pilaf. The cost to receive a month’s worth of recipes is $30 per month. They are working on an option to deliver the ingredients for the recipes. They currently have 60 dishes available.
Williams is pleased with how the business is doing so far. He said they have received a lot of interest from older vegans who have health issues and couldn’t afford to visit a nutritionist. Acumeal’s nutritionist has over six years’ experience and certifies that each meal is nutritionally sound.
While developing the business in San Francisco at Leangap, Williams tried being a vegan but only made it a week. He thinks one of the hindrances to his success was that he was living in college housing and trying to make vegan choices at the campus cafeteria. Through this experience thus far, he has learned so much about the vegan lifestyle and has become more sympathetic to their plight.
The business website launched on June 28. You can find the business at acumeal.com, Facebook and Twitter.
Williams is 17 years old and will be a senior this fall.