Imagine this, you’re 17 years old, you’ve got a passion for coding and app development and you put your hat in the ring to enter the Apple Student Challenge for WWDC 2020.

The winners don’t get a trip to the USA, or to attend WWDC, but they do get the prestige of being awarded as winners, and – hey, they get a cool jacket and some pins.

Now imagine you won. You are a winner, in fact you’re one of ten Aussie’s to be selected as winners, one of just over 300 globally.

This is how that feels:

Now, ahead of the event, things are exciting, you get your Jacket, your Pins and you work out all the questions you want to ask Apple Engineers in the briefing sessions at WWDC (online)

And then – days before the event, you get a call or email telling you that you’re also going to be on a group video call with Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives – Lisa Jackson.

You, and just 13 other Student Developers.

Mind blowing stuff.

During the call, Euan got the chance to present his App to the group and Ms Jackson, saying “Hi, I’m Euan, I’m 17 years old and I live down under in Australia. Earlier today, I presented Picturesque, the first major app that I’ve ever completed. Picturesque is a Pinterest Client for the Apple Watch, so that users can access inspirations and or ideas right from their wrists at any one time.” 

“I was inspired to become an iOS developer when a friend of mine won the WWDC 2019 Scholarship and I saw him appear in a iJustine Youtube video, in which he met Tim Cook and Software Engineers at Apple.” 

“Picturesque is the very app that has helped me to go on to win this year’s WWDC Swift Student Challenge, and I can’t imagine a future where I am not building apps for Apple devices.” 

Dude, you just presented to an Apple VP!

Lisa said she was inspired by the students because of “Your resilience, your spirit, your ability to see problems as solvable and your impatience a little bit to be creative and thoughtful” in their approaches to creating tools for some of the world’s challenges. “You’re our future leaders and inventors and educators and environmentalists and so I know you will leave the world better than you found it.”

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.

Speaking to the students about their careers, she said “You may not know where you’re headed. I certainly didn’t. I didn’t know for a very long time in my career how all the pieces would come together. But as I look at it now, it was always a result of sort of following the fight for justice whether it be for the planet or for people. And also [having] a strong belief in empowering people.

Asked about how technology can play a role in creating a more equitable society, Lisa said “it’s hard to believe the moment we’re in in this country and in lots of places around the world is possible without one really important piece of technology, which is the cameras on our iPhone. And I think that’s happening everywhere. And I think it’s a really important part of what all of you talked about, this idea of education, and allowing people to visualise.” 

“What technology can do, but it has to be done right, is it can help empower people.” 

“Empowerment has to come with justice as well.

Asked about access to coding and technology, Lisa said “We believe in the power of education. Coding and the ability to access it [can] be transformational,” so Apple is “trying to bring it to as many places as possible.” She mentioned the company’s new Racial Equity and Justice Initiative will be working on education as well. “You never know where the idea that’s going to change the world will come from.” “So many of you are right to focus on education, because that’s real power.”

Amazing stuff.

But wait, there’s One More Thing.

Apple CEO Tim Cook joined the call.


Just imagine how little sleep Euan Traynor in Adelaide got last night.