Upper School Student Develops Financial App and Wins International Competition
St. Margaret’s Upper School sophomore Tina Mai won first place in the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship World Series of Innovation, for her app that enables better financial access for unbanked people.
Tina’s app, FinanciAll, is a program that uses artificial intelligence and payment history to create “starter” credit ratings for people who are not part of the banking system, allowing them access to financing. Her idea won first place in the NFTE’s Mastercard Gateway for the Unbanked Challenge, an international competition.
“I was drawn to this competition because it combined technology and finance into a social entrepreneurship challenge—everything I was passionate about,” Tina said. “My innovation was driven by the idea that financial access is something that shouldn’t be a privilege, but a basic right.”
Tina only recently became passionate about computer science, after taking the Upper School’s AP computer science principles course taught by Lynn Ozonian. She hopes to use her skills to increase accessibility through technology.
“Mrs. Ozonian has been a great mentor by helping me network and find opportunities; including getting a subscription to a CS learning platform so I can learn additional programming,” Tina said.
Tina won a $1,500 prize through the NFTE World Series of Innovation, which she plans to use toward creating a new app—an AI-enabled software that offers visually impaired youth a tool to write stories and poetry using speech-recognition technology.
“In addition to her work in our AP computer science principles course, Tina has been learning new coding languages on her own,” Mrs. Ozonian said. “It is exciting to see her utilizing her passion for computer science to create technology solutions solving real-world problems, making the world a better and more accessible place. We are so proud of her accomplishments.”
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