Mobile App Academy Brings Real-world App Developer Experience to High School Students

on September 11, 2015 by Lauren Restuccia
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We reach for our mobile devices throughout the day – to help us get where we need to go, download music from our favorite artists, and stay on top of breaking news. But have you ever wondered what it actually takes to build a mobile app or how a single mobile app can change your life?


This summer, a select group of high school juniors and seniors tackled these very challenges at the fourth annual Samsung Mobile App Academy – a five-day program that took place across the United States at these top-notch universities:

  • University of Miami
  • Rice University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of California at Berkley
  • Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • University of Maryland


Samsung Mobile App Academy students


More than 1,100 students applied but only 60 were accepted for each of the six Academy sites where participants learned how to conceptualize, build and market apps that addressed a specific issue in one of four categories: health, education, environment, and community investment/sustainability. With the expansion of the program from three to five days, this year’s participants were challenged like never before – to create a fully functioning app from concept to completion.


That’s a huge accomplishment considering it can take weeks or even months to develop some of the sophisticated apps we use every day.


While many of these blooming app developers are high-performing students, they came to the Academy with varying degrees of coding expertise. But no matter their background, the program was carefully designed so that everyone had a valuable experience. So valuable that some students traveled as many as 120 miles round-trip, every day, for five days to attend the Academy during their summer vacation.


“I never felt left behind even though I had no previous experience with coding,” said Nicole, a 12th grade student from New Jersey who had a change of heart regarding technology after her Mobile App Academy experience. “Majors that involve a lot of technology don’t seem uninteresting anymore.”


Samsung Mobile App Academy students


Aside from the technical and social aspects of the camp, building an app that addressed an issue with personal relevance to the students created another layer of satisfaction. Topics ranged from depression – a medical condition that people battle on a daily basis, to providing care for an elderly loved one with limited financial means, to water conservation as Californians battle one of the longest droughts in recent history. Through the Mobile App Academy, students were able to express what they find meaningful and leverage that to help improve the world using technology.


“The most valuable thing that I learned is my app can impact society and I have the power to change it through coding,” said Robin, a 12th grade student from California. “I have been influenced to follow a computer science career.”


Samsung Mobile App Academy students



In February 2016, Samsung will award five Mobile App Academy winners up to $20,000 in scholarships for their mobile apps. With so many inventive and thoughtful ideas, narrowing it down to five won’t be easy, but the goal is for every student who attended this year’s Academy already feels like a winner for what they accomplished in just five short days.


As the world’s largest global technology company, we see it as our responsibility to foster students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects along with instilling a sense of responsibility to use their talents to better the world. Mobile App Academy is just one of the many programs where we use Samsung technology to teach relatable STEM skills that can be applied to future careers. As software continues to play a critical role in our daily lives, any one of these young minds could create the next breakthrough in app development.


To learn more about the Samsung Mobile App Academy, please visit

by Lauren Restuccia

Senior Manager, Corporate Citizenship Team at Samsung Electronics America

ESG > Citizenship

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