Our BOSS Coders team was awarded the Peoples’ Choice Award at the 2020 MIT App Inventor Global Hackathon for Good. The team’s Safe Encounter mobile app (with 6 discrete functions) was built by first-time coders coached and mentored by Black engineers from CISCO and Oracle. Our BOSS Coders included: Jaylen Baker, Dylan Ballard, Kai Hunter, RJ Jenkins, Peter Nwala, Rahseed Omotayo, Andrew Pierce, Christian Rios and Kaleb Tate.

Our BOSS STEM curriculum seeks to address the lack of significant numbers of BIPOC students pursuing careers in STEM disciplines, and the reluctance of boys of color, in particular, to pursue STEM careers resulting from a lack of preparation, confidence, resources, and supports. BOSS provides the support and character-building discipline needed for the long-term pursuit of higher education and ultimately, careers in the STEM disciplines, translating the mindset and discipline of achievement in sports into the gamification and teamwork of STEM projects to build the foundational skills needed for long-term success in STEM careers.

We used the proceeds of an AT&T grant to support next steps in the development of Safe Encounter. Currently, the Safe Encounter app has 5 discrete functions: Video Recording, Voice Recording, Alert Emergency Contacts, GPS Tracking, and Know Your Rights Notification. The AT&T grant enabled us to complete Feature Integration, completion of “Single Click” integration, Final Testing, Quality Assurance Testing, and Publishing the first version of the app (free and upgraded pay options) to the Google Play Store by the fall of 2021. Future iterations will address Healthcare and other potentially dangerous encounters, e.g., unwarranted 911 calls.

Stay tuned for the Google Play release. BOSS!