The Rise of a Young Inventor Working in STEM

By: Rachel Jason

Srilekha Mamidala, a 15-year-old student at Garnet Valley High School, won the 2021 GV Stem Challenge. Srilekha created a cell phone app that reduces unproductive technology use during the school day. The purpose of the app is to help students focus during class.

The app detects usage during class, therefore, responding by freezing the phone. Additionally, the app reports the amount of time a student is on their phone. The app is beneficial to both teachers and students. “It allows teachers to know that students are focusing in class along with helping students concentrate on their work”(Mamidala) 

The app was inspired by her inability to focus in online school, a common struggle for other students as well. “I used to find myself being distracted during class whether it was online or in-person school”, she confirms. 

Srilekha built the app using software known as XCode/Swift using prior experience with app development. “It is similar to iOS and the way Apple develops its apps.” (Mamidala)

Her involvement in STEM goes beyond 2021, as Srilekha has been interested in STEM throughout her youth. “From a young age, I have always loved math and am involved in math competitions so STEM has always been a very big part of my life.” Srilekha states. Additionally, Srilekha was familiar with GVHS STEM since she was involved in STEM events in middle school. 

With her devotion to STEM, Srilekha hopes to pursue a career in STEM. “I am interested in a career leaning towards engineering”, Mamidala says. 

Before Srilekha finished the interview, she encouraged students to get involved in STEM, “I recommend people to get involved in STEM since the field has many opportunities for everyone.” Srilekha continues by highlighting a specific population in society, “especially women and girls, as I advocate for their involvement in STEM, as well.” 

A wireframe diagram by Srilekha Mamidala. This was used during the coding process as she structured and designed the app. (disclaimer: does not include all functions)
Srilekha Mamidala, winner of the 2021 GV STEM challenge

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