Inspiration - Community Issue Being Solved

It is not easy for high school students these days to find internship, jobs, or research positions. When we interviewed 34 hackers yesterday, 30 of which were in high school, we found that 60% of students have tried to land a position in a lab as a volunteer or intern at an organization. However, not all successfully found a suitable opportunity and 72% of them found age (being in high school) to be a limiting factor. There is currently no large scale platform specifically targeted to help high school students find suitable opportunities.

Our Solution - PolyBees Website

So, as a solution to this deterrent, we created an interactive platform called PolyBees in which high school students, college students, professionals from organizations, student club leaders, and others can effectively communicate with each other and offer and receive opportunities. We used the a wireframing and mock up tool called Balsamiq to create the frames for our website and then we converted the frames to code using an application called Napkee and then went on to debug user interface translation errors in HTML and CSS style sheets. So, with PolyBees, what’s in it for each group of people?

  • High School Students:
    • Search through a personalized feed in which they can see various opportunities that match their indicated interest tags from their profiles
    • Submit posts to find nearby students with similar interests to work on projects, competitions, etc. together since it is often difficult to find new team members for say a start-up or non-profit that high schoolers want to get a headstart on
  • College Mentors:
    • Provide help to high school students (CV and resume help), and find assistants/interns for their own labs
  • Employers/Organizations: employ/find people interested in their programs and opportunities, post new opportunities to certain circles of people (tags)

Design Process

  • Brainstorming session with team for problems we see in community , we did a post-it elimination process as everyone wrote down ideas and we ended up picking the community issue that was brought up the most in our discussion
  • Once we found the problem we wanted to solve, we felt a website was the type of application that seemed the most plausible to start with at this hackathon and suitable for our design
  • Mapped out a flowchart for all the functionalities and features of the website on paper
  • Implemented design frames into wire frames and mock-ups via Balsamiq
  • For better UI display, we used Napkee and then edited our Balsamiq to adapt HTML and CSS to our preferences

Challenges we ran into

  • Trying to edit HTML / CSS Code
  • UI display of web app design varied for different programs that we used
  • All team members imagined the framework for the website differently
  • Having images and buttons show up with correct layout on web demo

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • We successfully created a technological prototype with an entrepreneurial approach
  • Efficient project management and division of tasks at hand
  • (Still managing to get sleep!) Just kidding... Another accomplishment is that we were able to identify and solve an issue very relevant to high school students today, including our team!

What we learned

  • Syntax for HTML5
  • Understanding CSS

What's next for PolyBees

We plan on continuing to develop PolyBees after this Hackathon by:

  • Building it into official website business
  • Acquiring users via social media and ads
  • Incentivizing college students and employers to join and use PolyBees by providign monetary benefit or advertising
  • Resume/cover letter help
  • converting the website into iPhone/Android apps

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