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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Rochester teens awarded $10K for developing app designed to help immigrants

Rochester teens awarded $10K for developing app designed to help immigrants

A group of teens from Rochester has been awarded $10,000 for their work on developing an app that connects immigrants with community resources.

The team — made up of three middle school and two high school girls from Rochester Public Schools — won the prize from Sunrise Banks as part of the 14th annual Minnesota Cup startup contest held by the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

The students qualified for the state competition — which put them up against adults teams — after taking home top honors in their division during this spring’s Technovation “Appapalooza” meet in Minneapolis.

Technovation is a global program that connects professional mentors to all-girl teams to enable girls to dream up, design, and code mobile phone apps.

What their app does

The students developed an app named “Bridge” that, according to an announcement, makes it easier for immigrants to access banking and other financial support services.

“All people, no matter their nationality, should have equal opportunities to better themselves and others without the lack of resources preventing their success,” the team wrote.

The students — Audrey Whitney, Bailey Klote, Anjali Donthi, Alexandra Bancos and Simran Sandhu — now plan to work with the Diversity Council to turn their proof-of-concept into an app for the nonprofit to use.

They join a select group of local teams who in recent years have also had success in developing new and innovative technologies. In 2017, a different RPS high school team was a first runner-up in the Technovation Challenge globally and was awarded $5,000 in scholarship money as a result.

And in 2015, a team from Kasson-Mantorville Middle School was one of only four finalists in its division worldwide at the global Technovation finals held in San Francisco. Their project also got them an invitation to the White House Science Fair — and a selfie with Vice President Joe Biden.

Related: Local programs encourage girls to go high-tech

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