Tech’s Winning App-Illustria

Annie Li ’18


This February, a team of students from Brooklyn Technical High School participated in the Verizon Innovative Learning App Challenge. This is a nationwide challenge open to middle school and high school students, where participating teams create an app that solves a problem in their community. According to, 1200 students submitted apps in 2015, 60% of the winners are interested in computer programming, and 24 apps have been placed on the marketplace.

One middle school and one high school from each state are chosen to represent their respective states. states, “Teams submit their design concepts online through a three-minute video and an essay.” The school chosen to represent their state for Best in State, can earn $5000. Those who win the Best in State, and those who are chosen as the Fan Favorite can earn an additional $15,000, work with MIT engineers to bring their app designs to life, and share them in the market. Since the challenge does not require the participating teams to know how to code, anyone can enter the challenge and have an equal chance of winning.

As many students have noticed, during the daily morning announcements and the Junior Info Night, Brooklyn Tech faculty members have been urging both students and parents to vote for the school. Students and parents have been asked to  text “ILUSTRIA” to 22333, for a chance to win the Fan Favorite, and receive $15,000 for the school’s STEM programs. Brooklyn Tech has won the Best in the State, and Karina Melnik, a Junior in Brooklyn Technical High School, and her team have been chosen to represent New York State and Brooklyn tech. When asked if she and her team would win, Karina Melnik said,  “To be completely honest, I did not expect to win the competition. As much as I believed in Ilustria, I did my best not to get attached to the outcome of the competition. Had my team and I lost, I would still go on the build the app and release it to the public. Winning is just a cherry on top.”

Ilustria is the name of the app that Karina Melnik designed in the summer of 2016. This

app was designed so that students will be able to connect to less well-known independent scholarships. In addition, game mechanics and game design techniques were applied to the application process to make it more fun and interesting. This app allows students to access more scholarships, and helps students find more opportunities to help pay for their college tuitions. This app is meant to benefit not only the students of Brooklyn Tech, but students throughout the United States as well. Although the app did not become one of the Best in Nation winners, it has still achieved a great deal by becoming the best in the state.

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