01 Apr CivTechSA Wraps Up Year Three’s Second Quarter
Time, hard work, and fun have flown by this quarter as CivTechSA has wrapped up its third year’s second quarter. There has been a tremendous push of energy and effort as the city transitions to a virtual environment and with it, the program as well. Let’s take this time to reflect and highlight the wins that CivTechSA has seen this quarter!
This quarter, CivTechSA was able to engage multiple 6-12 grade partners along with higher educational institutions.
CivTechSA hosted 80 students from East Central High School and CAST Tech High School for a half-day job shadow event in partnership with SAWorks to highlight the benefits of working in the tech industry with public sector partners. They spoke with tech industry leaders along with City Officials to learn more about what they do and how they got where they are now.
There was also another project that wrapped up with over 20 middle schools and 900 students from Northside ISD’s Learning Tree Enrichment Program working on how to modernize security at the Alamodome with the Convention and Sports Facilities Department. We were able to facilitate an onsite field trip to the Alamodome for 250 students so they could learn more about the facilities and how they could help improve them. Some of their ideas are being implemented such as increasing security dogs and personnel staff along with badging and fingerprinting security staff before and after they are hired. An out of the box idea was to have an x-ray scanner at the loading docks to see what came in and out of the trailers. Five schools were awarded winning categories and even got in-person pizza parties with the CivTechSA and Alamodome Security Staff!
In the higher education portion of the program, this semester, CivTechSA partnered with the University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M San Antonio, St Mary’s University, Our Lady of the Lake University, and Codeup where students are introduced to departmental and SmartSA challenges at the beginning of the semester.
- UTSA – 3 seniors are working on creating an internal suggestion portal that is similar to USAA’s portal. These students have been working along side the R&D League and meeting with USAA UI/UX designers on creating a viable platform for departments to suggest their internal problems to be solved.
- UTSA CITE – 4 seniors are working on developing an interactive platform where sellers and buyers can put deconstruction materials up for sale similar to a Facebook Marketplace for the UTSA CITE competition with the Office of Historic Preservation.
- TAMUSA – 16 computer science students are working in teams to create an interactive map that will be housed on the Health Department’s site to highlight the food and health scores of restaurants throughout the City.
- St Mary’s University – 22 entrepreneurship students are ideating creative ways and platforms to capture demographic data at outdoor events hosted by the World Heritage Office. This data would better help WHO to curate ways to market to different target audiences throughout the City.
- Our Lady of the Lake University – 13 students are working in teams with CPS Energy to find ways that energy utilities promote grid beneficial customer actions by utilizing gamification concepts.
Due to COVID-19, schools have switched to a virtual platform therefore the remainder of the projects will be presented through virtual platforms rather than the traditional approach of being in the classroom. Stay tuned for the next quarterly recap to learn all about what the schools have worked on!
CivTechSA also sponsored and co-hosted the first-ever ThinkLab in partnership with Sustainable Youth in Action to replace the annual Ideathon. This year’s competition was highly focused on civic engagement with students between ages 16-26 regarding the SA2020 dashboard. The winning team were the youngest competitors at age 16!
Students that participate in the program have an opportunity to provide creative ideas for these challenges whether it is in the classroom or a competition. They gain an experience to understand project management and what it is like for entrepreneurs in the field to curate and present technical proposals.
Our tech entrepreneurs and community members have had the opportunity to dive deep into CivTechSA this quarter with the launch of the third year of the Residency Program. The Residency intends for local startups the opportunity to understand the ebbs and flows of how to work with municipal government.
This year, there were five challenges presented by the Office of Historic Preservation, Solid Waste Management Department, and the Office of Innovation in conjunction with ITSD. Applications became available on January 24, 2020 and closed on March 13, 2020. During this timeframe, we hosted a Q&A with the departments and potential startups that would be applying to learn more about the challenges and expectations that came with them. The Residency Program provides an outlet for startups to comprehend what it is like to work with City Government and collaborate closely with City Departments to create custom solutions.
There is always a rewarding feeling that one gets as they start and complete our program because that student or entrepreneur is making a difference in our city.
If you’re interested in getting involved or wanting to know more, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!