Dec. 4, 2012 9:30 am

Temple University’s Urban Apps and Maps Studio: Knight Foundation awards $600k to civic app program for minority students

Temple University‘s Fox School of Business wants to train the next generation of civic hackers. But perhaps more importantly, it wants to make sure that those hackers-to-be are actually coming from the communities they aim to serve. That’s the mission behind the university’s cross-discplinary Urban Apps & Maps Studio, which aims to recruit students from […]

Derrel Williams (left) and Jaylen Price were among a group of high school students that spent six weeks working in the Urban Apps & Maps Studio last summer. Photo by James Moustafellos.

Temple University‘s Fox School of Business wants to train the next generation of civic hackers. But perhaps more importantly, it wants to make sure that those hackers-to-be are actually coming from the communities they aim to serve.

That’s the mission behind the university’s cross-discplinary Urban Apps & Maps Studio, which aims to recruit students from North Philadelphia and teach them how to create apps that can solve problems that directly affect their neighborhood.

The Knight Foundation just announced a $635,000 investment in the project, according to a release. The money will go toward three summer-long Urban Apps & Maps training programs that will serve 300 minority high school and college-age students. About a dozen students will continue as year-round fellows, building apps to help their community.

If you want to get involved with the program or know a student who would be interested, email Michaela Newman at michaela.newman AT temple.edu.

Diversity is a key aspect of the project, said Donna Frisby-Greenwood, Philadelphia project manager for the Knight Foundation.

“Philadelphia is becoming a center for tech and innovation,” said Frisby-Greenwood in the release, “and Knight Foundation wants to make sure that the African-American and Latinos who make up more than half of this community are engaged in this growing field.”

Temple University will work with the Philadelphia School District and the Philadelphia Youth Network to recruit students for the program. While it will initially focus on students in North Philly, organizers hope to expand the project to serve students all over the city.

Founded last year, Urban Apps & Maps began with a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. Previous participants in the program have built apps centered around healthcare, personal finance and urban farming.

-30-
Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technical.ly Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

Advertisement