Freshman’s app wins award from Obama, Emanuel

UIC freshman Amelia Abuali presents her app to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former President Barack Obama.

UIC freshman Amelia Abuali gained major career experience this summer, learning coding and developing an app that won an award — from surprise judges that included former President Barack Obama and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Abuali said. “As soon as we went in [to present] and set up our apps on the projector, in walks Obama.”

Abuali earned the opportunity to present her work in front of the former president through the One Summer Chicago initiative, which hosts a six-week program for youth and young adults to explore coding, math, science, and more.

Amelia Abuali

“It helps teenagers stay involved and gain new experiences,” Abuali said.

Abuali’s group created CPS @ Ur Fingertips, an app that makes it easier for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students to access the information they need all in one place.

She and her group went through several rounds of presentations with their app, including presenting to Apple employees, before making it to the final round in front of Emanuel and Obama.

Abuali and other students who made it to the final round of presentations had the opportunity to sit down and have a 40-minute conversation with the former president.

“I was very excited to meet him, and knowing that I was going to meet him because of a product I created,” she said.

Abuali has gained a lot of knowledge, experience, contacts, and more from this opportunity. She connected with many individuals, developed relationships, and further explored a career that she plans to pursue.

Abuali is working with CPS on implementing the app within the school system.

“It turned out to be a really good and positive experience for me. I really enjoyed it,” she said. “The networking I got out of it will help me in my future career.”

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