High school seniors Kyle Stachowicz, Sam Chung fill need for communicative technology
A new app has recently been beta-tested in Davis to help police officers better serve the homeless. Davis Senior High School 12th-graders Kyle Stachowicz and Sam Chung were contacted by the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter to build what has become a three- to four-year project.
“We reached out to them because one of the things that’s lacking is that, when the police pick up someone on the street they don’t know which shelter has space or who would accept them,” said IRWS board chair Eric Elton.
Stachowicz explained that the app itself has two interfaces — one for the shelters to log incoming guests for the night and another for the Davis Police Department to effectively search for a shelter with open beds.
“The app allows the police department and the winter shelters to effectively communicate about the state of the shelter,” Stachowicz said.
According to Elton, the app may have further uses in larger cities.
“I can see it filling a need in Sacramento, where there’s more homeless shelters, or partnered with neighboring cities such as Woodland,” Elton said.
Stephen Harvey founded Team 1687 Citrus Circuits in 2004 and has fostered a student-led classroom for the last 12 years. During the day, he works as a mathematics and robotics teacher at Davis High. His team incorporates students from different schools around Yolo County, including Davis High, Da Vinci Charter Academy, Holmes Junior High, Emerson Junior High and Harper Junior High.
“The hardest part was actually implementing it with the police department — that involved actually going out and interviewing with the police,” Harvey said. “That’s not easy for high school students to do. They set up all the meetings with the police department and trained the police on how to work it.”
Stachowicz said that his role in Team 1678 usually involves programming robots, while Chung heads the app programming subteam. Chung’s focus group has written a number of data collection apps.
“This was my first time writing something from beginning to end in terms of an app that’s actually used in a production environment,” Stachowicz said. “I ended up doing most of the technical implementation while Sam [Chung] did a lot of the PR outreach side of it — talking directly to the police department and the winter shelter. It’s basically just been us.”
Stachowicz has been a part of Citrus Circuits for all four years of his high school career. During that time, he’s seen the programming department grow from four members his freshman year to 25 his senior year. The team is currently in its off season, gearing up for competitions in March.
“It’s been really exciting seeing how the team has grown, particularly from a code standpoint,” Stachowicz said. “It’s really exciting to see students getting excited about programming.”
The team holds a booth at the farmers market weekly and focuses its attention on outreach promoting local STEM programs. It competes against other teams in the For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology robotics competition. Since 2004, they have taken home several regional awards and went on to win the World Competition in 2015. Harvey credits his students’ successes to their own willingness to learn.
“Our students take the lead on almost everything we do on this team,” Harvey said.
“Our app programmers are phenomenal.”
Written by: Genevieve Murphy-Skilling — firstname.lastname@example.org