Education

Possible medical emergencies in class inspired Houston student to make app

This Houston County student built a medical assistant app

Rumi Lee, a sophomore at Houston County High School, talks about the app she built called Aid Me, which won the Congressional App Challenge this year for the Eight District. The images of the app in this video do not show the final product.
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Rumi Lee, a sophomore at Houston County High School, talks about the app she built called Aid Me, which won the Congressional App Challenge this year for the Eight District. The images of the app in this video do not show the final product.

The next time someone would have a medical emergency in class, Rumi Lee wanted to be prepared.

The Houston County High School sophomore wanted her classmates to be prepared, too.

“Some don’t know what to do. They automatically just panic,” Lee said. “I was like, ‘That’s not really good.’ Because although the adults and teachers might train, the students aren’t really given information on that. They may not even know what’s inside of a first aid kit.”

Lee created a first-aid medical assistance app called AidMe for Android users in grade school. It was her first time coding.

“It was almost daunting because it’s just lines and ropes of just words and symbols. I was like, ‘I don’t think I can do this. Oh my gosh.’ ” Lee said.

The app won 1st place in the 8th District for the Congressional App Challenge and will be on display at the U.S. Capitol and on the official U.S. House of Representatives website next spring.

“This was a very humbling experience for me because I learned that problem solving is not just one way, you have to go maybe several different routes to get to the solution,” Lee said. “Just knowing that even a high school student can make a software that can impact the world, that was a big moment of realization for me.”

About a year ago, Lee, also a graphic design artist, told her computer sciences teacher, Shirl Williams, that she wanted to make an app.

“She wanted to join my coding club if we were going to make apps,” Williams said. “At that time, I really didn’t have the knowledge of how to make an app.”

Williams, who has taught at the school since 1993, changed the subject of her instruction five years ago from math to computer science.

“There’s a shortage of computer science teachers in public schools because most people who have the ability are working in the business,” she said.

In May, U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., called the Georgia Tech Research Institute in Warner Robins, where 2014 Houston County High School graduate Brandon Hancock works.

Hancock “contacted me and said, ‘We want to help you have your students make apps for the Congressional Apps challenge,’ ” Williams said. “They were the impetus for this scenario.”

From May through October, Lee and other classmates worked on making their apps.

When students would get stuck, Williams said they would call the Georgia Tech Research Institute and “they would help us get over the hump,” Williams said.

Lee was invited to attend a #HouseOfCode event in Washington, D.C., next spring.

Others in the coding club created apps also, including one called Wraith’s Wrath, a game that provides a fun challenge, and Rate-It R, an app that makes it easier to choose a movie to watch.

Williams said she was most surprised by the students’ perseverance and “the renewed interest that the students have to do something that would impact society”

“It’s exciting to see what the students can do with just a little bit of help,” she said. “Giving them the opportunity and encouragement, that’s all they need.”

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