A 15-year-old Limerick secondary school student has won a top regional award for developing an app that helps visually impaired people shop independently for their groceries and keeps track of their dietary requirements.
Coláiste Nano Nagle student Maha Shahzadi was awarded first place in the social science category at the regional SciFest competition promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Maha’s ‘Eataware’ app uses text, speech, audio, sensor alerts and picture technologies to enhance the everyday life of those who are visually impaired.
In order to learn how to code, and to develop Eataware from a small idea into a real project, Maha worked with Teen-Turn’s Project Squad, a 12-week after-school programme that partners girls with a mentor, who supports them to bring their science idea to life.
“Before working with Teen-Turn, Maha had never coded and had no idea how to go about developing an app from scratch. Maha had the idea but did not have the support to bring it to the next level.
Her project was one of 27 competing with Teen-Turn in SciFest 2021 and she is now encouraging other girls to get involved in Teen-Turn to learn about STEM and to get the chance to take part in SciFest.
“I got guidance every step of the way and encouragement on the days things didn’t go to plan,” Maha explained.
“From thinking scientifically to coding, time management and writing, Teen-Turn’s Project Squad has helped me gain countless skills that you wouldn’t learn in a traditional classroom.”
Maha is continuing to work with Teen-Turn to further develop her Eataware app.