High School-Aged Students’ Solution for Solving a Complex City Problem Outmatches Those of Professional and College-Level Designers to Claim Civic Design Challenge’s $5000 Grand Prize

SAN DIEGO — (October 26, 2017) – The League of Amazing Programmers, a non-profit dedicated to teaching professional-level programming to kids and teens, is proud to announce two of five League teams entered in the Design for San Diego (D4SD) Civic Challenge took home top honors, including the competition’s $5000 grand prize. The League’s students were the only high school age participants who entered the competition alongside design professionals, college and graduate students.

“I knew the students could hold their own, but I had no idea one of the League’s five teams might win!” said Becky Deller, Director of Community Engagement, The League of Amazing Programmers. “The judges were surprised to learn the age of The League’s student entrants, and praised them for their poise and intelligence.”

The month long inaugural competition focused on the issue of mobility, asking participants the question “How might we create a San Diego where all move more freely,” and challenged them to solve this complex city-wide problem through design thinking and crowdsourcing. The League’s grand prize-winning team, Cycle Detection, addressed the specific question: How can we make bicycles more visible to cars of the future? In addition to $5000, the team won the opportunity to work with venture capital and private equity firm SCALE SD, the University of California San Diego Design Lab, and The San Diego Association of Governors to implement their idea, which focuses on Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC).

Team Cycle Detection consisted of:

D.J. Nelson (9th grade Francis Parker)
James Maron (10th grade Canyon Crest Academy)
Savera Soin (11th grade Canyon Crest Academy)
Stephen Cerruti (mentor)

Fellow League team, San Diego Parking App, was recognized as a finalist for their work on an app that shows available parking within downtown San Diego. Team members included:

Tyler Reinecke (12th grade Del Norte High School)
Thomas Twomey (12th grade Cathedral Catholic High School)
Jangwoo Lee (10th grade Canyon Crest Academy)
Adrian Derderian (8th grade Escondido Christian School)
Dave Dunn (mentor)

The competition drew 50 applications in early October, with eight finalists selected from 23 completed submissions. Completed entries were showcased, and the eight finalist teams announced, during an evening mixer on October 25. The following day, finalists presented their projects to judges in front of a live audience at the Design Forward Summit. Hosted at Liberty Station, the summit required finalist to make a 60-second pitch before addressing judges’ questions.

Design for San Diego (D4SD) is a combined effort to solve complex city problems through design thinking and crowdsourcing, led by the UC San Diego Design Lab—with support from the National Science Foundation, Design Forward Alliance and SCALE SD.