Featured Article January 27, 2022

JAX Creates Urban Achievement Award for 2022 Lt Governors Computing Challenge

Sarah standing at a railing at JAX GM.
Sarah Wojiski, Director, Education and External ProgramsJAX Genomic Education

On January 24, Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and State Department of Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker announced the launch of the 2022 Lt. Governor’s Computing Challenge. The challenge encourages all Connecticut students to get excited about the positive impact they can make on their communities by creating a new computer application aimed at promoting health and wellness.

“Learning more about computer science at a young age provides students with the opportunity to become familiar with a field that is not only growing, but expanding and evolving constantly,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz. “Allowing students to explore this interest early in their academic careers allows them to think about a future STEM degree or career. Some of the participants of this challenge might be some of technology’s biggest influencers in the future, and I’m already looking forward to seeing this year’s applications.”

All Connecticut students in grades three through 12 are encouraged to create and submit computer applications under the theme, “Coding for Good – Inspiring Health and Wellness for All.” Submissions, which will be judged by technology experts and educators from around the state, will be accepted through April 29, 2022. The Challenge will include three options for submission: Concept Challenge, Prototype Challenge and Development Challenge. Students may work individually or as a team to submit to one challenge.

For this year’s Challenge, The Jackson Laboratory created a new award to promote participation from students in Opportunity Districts, which represent the 10 lowest performing school districts in the state.

Through The Jackson Laboratory Urban Achievement Award, individuals or teams at the elementary, middle and high school level will receive cash prizes in both the Prototype Challenge and Development Challenge categories. Building off the scoring criteria outlined by the Coding Challenge, additional weight will be given to projects that have a bioscience, public health, or medical innovation focus. JAX will also assist in recruiting employees to serve as mentors and judges for both this category and the coding challenge.

"The Computing Challenge is a fun, meaningful way to get students thinking creatively about making health and wellness initiatives accessible to their communities through technology,” said Sarah Wojiski, director of Education and External Programs, JAX. “JAX Genomic Education develops engaging programs to help students develop skills and exposes students to STEM career paths. Our team strives to make STEM opportunities accessible to students of all backgrounds, and we are so excited to be working with the Lieutenant Governor and the Department of Education on this program.”

The Challenge was created by the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, which is chaired by the Lt. Governor, to inspire female students to develop an interest in computer technology and to encourage that interest beyond high school graduation.