Digital Wolf Pack Initiative Student Wins Global Student App Development Challenge
This summer, University of Nevada, Reno sophomore Vedant Malhotra was selected as the winner of the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference’s Swift Student Challenge. It also participates in the App Development with Wolf Pack program organized by the Digital Wolf Pack Initiative.
Malhotra‘S passion for computers, coding and developing computer applications started in 2014 when Apple announced the Swift programming language, and he saw an advertisement for the WWDC scholarship. He wanted to see what he could build and has competed every year since.
“I applied for the Swift Student Challenge competition in 2021 and didn’t win so I started writing and working on ideas for next year trying to think of what might be fun for the event using Apple devices,” Malhotra, a computer scientist and engineering major, said. “It’s been a great year of development and participating in the app development workshops in the knowledge center.”
For the 2022 challenge, students were tasked with creating a three-minute interactive scene with a Swift Playgrounds app project on a topic of their choice to show off their passion for coding.
“My submission was based on a story that puts the user on a mission to save WWDC,” he said. “In the script, a character named ‘Craig‘ forgets to update his iPad to iPadOS 16, and he needs the new software to present. It asks the user for help. Within the app, there are three mini apps – DeviceRestore, iPadOS 16 Preview, and WWDC 2022. The app uses SwiftUI, UIKit, ARKit, PencilKit, and QuickLook. SwiftUI powers the main app interface, and ARKit and PencilKit power the iPadOS 16 preview and WWDC 2022 mini apps.”
Through the interactive application, the user is invited to guide Craig in updating his software so that he is ready for his presentation. The app is meant to encourage Apple users to update their devices, emphasizing the importance of embracing new technologies with the latest software updates.
“It’s my first victory, and I got the scholarship! said Malhotra.
He received a WWDC scholarship for 2022, exclusive WWDC22 outerwear, a custom pin set, and one year of membership in the Apple Developer Program. Each year, Apple rewards talented students and members of the STEM organization with the opportunity to attend the conference as a scholarship recipient. In addition to the online conference, Apple held a special day for developers and students at Apple Park in June to watch the keynote speech and State of the Union videos together, as well as the community in line.
As the winner of the WWDC Swift Student Challenge, Malhotra received exclusive WWDC22 outerwear, a custom pin set and one year of membership in the Apple Developer Program. Apple hosted a special day for developers and students at Apple Park in June to watch the commencement and State of the Union videos together, as well as the online community.
Malhotra visited Apple Park in Cupertino, joining the global developer community for an in-depth look at the future of Apple platforms.
While Malhotra has a long-standing interest in coding and app development, he said anyone can learn using his new iPad from the Digital Wolf Pack initiative and attending free app development classes with the Wolf Pack. He attended application development workshops at the Knowledge Center throughout the spring semester as a freshman.
“It’s crazy what you can do with an iPad, the sky’s the limit,” he said. “There’s a lot to do in app development courses and you can learn a lot more, like catching up on new features, like accessibility changes. There’s always something new to learn .
Having the Digital Wolf Pack initiative as a resource was instrumental in Malhotra‘Success. The Digital Wolf Pack initiative, entering its second year with Apple, is bringing the iPad Air, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio to all new University of Nevada, Reno and transfer students and has brought the iPad to more than 200 university professors since the fall of 2021.
“I had the pleasure of meeting Vedant during a pitch call for an app he created with classmates Shayan Hosseini and Joseph Jacobson, a UNR Mental Health app,” Marianne Barrea, project manager by acting for digital initiative for provost‘s Office, said. “He showed a real understanding of the platform and was able to break it down into a usable interface. It was very impressive. Having received a Digital Wolf Pack Initiative device and taken the App Development with the Wolf Pack course, I think Vedant was primed for success and was able to really focus on creativity.
Last year, the University developed “App Development with the Wolf Pack” courses that allow students from any discipline to create their own application using Swift, a powerful and intuitive programming language for iOS, iPadOS , macOS, tvOS and watchOS. In addition to his 17-credit course load in the spring semester, Malhotra took these application development classes on Thursdays at the Knowledge Center.
“There are several sessions throughout the week, from beginner to advanced level. It was really fun using the iPad and learning all the things it could do,” Vedant said. “The iPad is very useful, along with the Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard, to organize what I do. It has changed the way I study. I just wear this, this‘It’s the only thing I need. I use the iPad for presentations, it helps to meet deadlines and communicate with teachers. »
Vedant also takes care of other web projects. He is a webmaster for the University of Nevada Student Associates, works at the online journal Sagebrush, helped redesign the Wolf Pack Radio website, and promoted activities and publications for ASUN. . It now has six apps on the App Store, including a web browser that organizes and manages open tabs, and an upcoming custom music app for what a person likes to listen to. Additionally, on its website, it just launched LockPod in beta, which uses iOS 16’s new widgets feature to pin music items to the lock screen. It had over 1000 downloads within 24 hours of the beta release.
Its newest app on the app store is 3things, which is an easy way for a person to track their three most important things. Information about the six apps can be found on its website.
App Development courses are open to all University students and faculty, not just those who received the iPad Air as part of the Digital Wolf Pack initiative.
“What’s unique about our coding program, App Development with the Wolf Pack, is that you really don’t need any coding experience to be successful,” Barrea said. “A lot of people automatically shy away from app development and coding because they feel they don’t have the right skills or training to build or produce an app. What we really focus on is to encourage students from all disciplines to explore application development and work in teams to bring together a range of skills all working towards a common goal.
Last spring, the University Student Chapter of the Association of Computer Machinery held a hackathon, and several students, including Vedant, who took the app development courses with the Wolf Pack Swift Playgrounds participated and won first place in the novice category. They were all freshmen.
The digital initiative was designed to provide access through a common platform to all students at the University of Nevada, Reno, equipping them with tools to help them succeed. The digital literacy program, including this interdisciplinary application development program, also provides students with skills for their future careers.