Home SparkUp Ateneo clinches grand prize at TCS Sustainathon

Ateneo clinches grand prize at TCS Sustainathon

From right: Shiju Varghese (Country Head — TCS Philippines), Patrick Veril (Lead, CSR for ASEAN — TCS), Ludhisya Rajakumar (Head of Scaled Customer Insights Global, Sales Analytics, LinkedIn), Vasudevan Rajagopalan (APAC HR Head — TCS), Joel Tesorero (HR Director — SAP), Shveta Bhardwaj (APAC Head Sustainability Services — TCS), Glycirynne Dianne Apolonio (AVP and Head of the Service Operations Center — Converge ICT Solutions, Inc.), Manoj Rajput (APAC CFO — TCS), Mira Miguel (Manager, Total Product Management Universal Robina Corp.), and Joan Mary P. Sumpio (Regulatory Affairs Manager Alaska Milk Corp. ). Third from left, front: Maxine Van L. Caparas, Ma. Angelika C. Regoso, Jessica L. Dela Cruz and Fernan Frans B. Pelobello of Team Gathertz!

By Bjorn Biel M. Beltran, Special Features and Content Assistant Editor

Students from Ateneo de Manila University bagged the top prize in the third edition of the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Sustainathon Philippines, with Gathertz!, an application dedicated to fostering inclusivity among young girls in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Questify and Career Catalysts, both finalists from Saint Louis University, won second and third place, respectively.

Formally launched on Sept. 25, 2023, the theme for TCS Sustainathon Philippines 2023 focused on developing new innovative solutions to address challenges and increase representation of women and young girls in STEM.

“STEM is one of the fastest growing and most influential segments in the world, offering opportunities for transformation, accessibility, agility and impactful growth and change. The Philippines faces a significant gender imbalance, having only four out of 10 STEM graduates [who] are women while 14% of the graduates do not pursue a career in STEM industry,” said Shiju Varghese, country head of TCS Philippines.

“TCS Sustainathon brought together the private and public sectors to collaborate and inspire students to address the current underrepresentation and bolster technological growth and innovation. We were pleased to see the innovative ideas presented by the finalists and congratulate the winners on their achievement,” he added.

Gathertz!, the winning entry, is an educational application crafted to encourage female high school students in pursuing education and careers in STEM. The team focused on leveraging technologies such as machine learning, gamification and application programming interface (API). The application focuses on delivering a fun, interactive, and tailor-fitted gamified experience which aims to boost users’ self-esteem.

The driving premise behind the app has roots in popular research tackling why women were less likely to pursue STEM fields of study. According to many studies, children are more likely to imagine and draw men when asked to draw a mathematician or scientist. In fact, girls were twice as likely to draw men as they were to draw women, while boys almost universally drew men, often in a lab coat.

In another noteworthy study conducted in 2015, Israeli researchers divided sixth grade tests for teachers to grade between an internal batch with students’ names on them, and an external batch without names. The research found that teachers gave boys better grades in Math, whereas outside graders gave ladies better grades. As a result, girls tend to become discouraged in these fields.

The Gathertz! app was made by the team of Maxine Van L. Caparas, Ma. Angelika C. Regoso, Jessica L. Dela Cruz, and Fernan Frans B. Pelobello, who are all currently taking up BS Electronics Engineering at the Ateneo De Manila University.

TCS Sustainathon aims to inspire and empower young minds to solve real-world environmental and societal challenges through technology. Addressing challenge statements issued by the challenge partners from Converge ICT Solutions, Inc., SAP, Alaska Milk Corp., and Universal Robina Corp., this year’s TCS Sustainathon Philippines received 35 proposal submissions from tertiary level students from pre-university to university cohorts. The finals saw 10 short-listed teams presenting innovative and creative pitches to develop practical solutions.

The event and prize presentation ceremony was attended by guest of honor, Vivian S. Santos, deputy director-general for operations of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

TCS Sustainathon was launched in Singapore in 2020 to give students the opportunity to interact with like-minded partners across government, private, academic and nonprofit entities in conceptualizing ideas and sustainability-focused solutions by leveraging digital technologies to tackle real world problems.

TCS Sustainathon has now grown into a successful global initiative, with editions across many countries and regions, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Middle East.

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