22-year-old Yemi Agesin was one of a select few to get one of Apple’s most coveted scholarships, the 2023 Swift Student Challenge. The program is part of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), a yearly event in which the company challenges students all around the world to design an original app playground using the Swift coding language.
This year’s award winners were 375 instead of 350, allowing even more students to participate in the event and be recognized for their creativity and innovative thinking. The winners got a yearlong membership in the Apple Developer Program, a personalized pin set, AirPods Pro, and unique WWDC23 outerwear.
While playing shortstop for his school’s baseball team in middle school, Agesin began learning how to code. He told The Atlanta Voice, “In middle school, I felt that power one day when my first language was Java Script and the first task was to get rid of pop-up windows in a web browser and all it took was one single line of code and it just felt so powerful. I really recreated things that I face as a user, so now, I’m not just a user, I’m a creator. To hone my skills, whenever I have a concept or idea, I’d try to build it.”
He went on to say that he usually creates games and programs for people to use while studying. The pacesetter revealed that he wanted to apply for the scholarship the year before but was unable to due to schedule difficulties with class.
Recalling the scholarship application process, Agesin revealed that, aside from his passion for the game, the most enjoyable thing he completed was submitting the tabletop baseball game that examines the complex and advanced strategies that go into a batter vs. pitcher matchup, incorporating the software SpriteKit and SwiftUI.
Despite nearly losing out due to an internet outage in the final hour, this was his winning ticket. “I wrote all my responses to the prompts and loaded my code, but when I hit submit on the browser, it crashed, and my submission didn’t register. With a minute left on the clock, I had to scramble, and my essay-like responses became one-liners, and I could still submit my project,” he told POCIT.
He was quite surprised when he actually won. “As soon as I heard the announcement, I was very giddy and grateful. When I found out, I was at work coding something, and I saw the email and immediately ran outside and there were a lot of emotions going through my head, mostly being grateful,” he expressed to The Atlanta Voice.
Agesin had the opportunity to showcase his app to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple Head of Developer Relations Susan Prescott after being selected as the winner. With this scholarship, Agesin plans to refine the apps he submitted and publish them on the App Store. He hopes to produce a more sophisticated version of his program, Diamond Duel.
The young inventor, who also happens to be a filmmaker, hopes to develop a technique someday that would enable other filmmakers to expedite the production of films. He encourages his peers to “be patient with yourself,” to “always try,” and to avoid becoming “too bogged up” in the more academic approach to learning.
Agesin studies computer science at Kennesaw State and works as a software engineering intern at an international sports technology organization when he is not working on his apps.