Conestoga news

May 24, 2024 2:20 PM

Conestoga students named to top 100 in global Google competition

Four Conestoga students were recently named as a Global Top 100 team in Google’s 2024 Developer Student Club Solution Challenge. Team members include Owen Garland, Tyler Scheifley, and Brodin Collins-Robb from the Bachelor of Computer Science program, along with Jackson Whynott from the Computer Engineering Technology program.

(Pictured L-R) Owen Garland, Jackson Whynott, Tyler Scheifley and Brodin Collins-Robb at ConHacks last October.

The competition tasks students from around the world with developing a solution that addresses a problem related to one of the United Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals using Google products. The team designed the technology, tested their solution, and then submitted the video entry for the competition in February, receiving word in April that they were named to the Global Top 100. The challenge has received over 4,000 entries since its inception in 2020.

The team’s solution is called DateMinder, and is a student-oriented artificial intelligence (AI) calendar assistant that helps busy students organize their time and avoid procrastination and burnout. The web application uses Google’s AI platforms to create events from student schedules in separate applications, automatically transfer them to a Google calendar, and then manage the calendar as a personal assistant.

“We have plans to have it generate events automatically from a user's prompt, then organize the calendar in the most optimal way possible,” said Garland of the team’s continued work on the project, which addresses the UN Sustainable Development Goals of Quality Education and Decent Work and Economic Growth.

“It is still in a prototype stage, and we are planning to keep working on it so that we can start bringing in users to try and expand this idea and project further.”

The team has participated and had success in other competitions, and Garland credits their Conestoga coursework in helping them towards their accomplishments.

“We’re very grateful to have had the opportunity to submit a project for the Google Developer Student Club Solution Challenge. We have had some great success with these hackathons, and feel that our coursework at Conestoga, and especially our project courses, have prepared us well,” added Garland.

Among the hackathons where the DateMinder idea has flourished was ConHacks, taking top place at the event held at Conestoga’s Waterloo campus last October.  

For their Global Top 100 placement, the team will receive Google merchandise, a certificate, personalized mentorship and access to industry experts to help further develop their idea. They’ll also find out in late May if they’ve been selected to the top 10.

“It’s been tough, but also very rewarding working on this project. We have a great team of individuals, each with their own talents, which we used to create a fantastic product we can be proud of,” added Whynott.

To be a part of the competition, students must first join a Google Developer Student Club, then form a team and register. Conestoga’s club is among the largest in Canada with over 900 members. It’s been active since 2020 and provides students with the opportunity to participate in local and international workshops and events, with access to career development, hackathons, and valuable exposure to the technology industry.

“Being selected as a Global Top 100 team in Google's 2024 Developer Student Club Solution Challenge is a tremendous accomplishment by Owen, Tyler, Brodin and Jackson. Being recognized on an international stage demonstrates the strength of Conestoga students and is a proud moment for the School of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology,” said David Allison, who is a chair in the school.   

Based at the college’s Waterloo campus, Conestoga’s School of Applied Computer Science & Information Technology offers a 21st-century education that prepares graduates for exciting careers in the innovative world of information and communications technology. Project-based and work-integrated learning enables students to solve real-world problems and engage in new technologies that empower a professional journey in a rapidly growing sector.