Launched in 2010 at Winchester Thurston School in Pittsburgh, PA, the afterschool Mobile App Lab was implemented to improve youth programming skills, excite students toward programming, and build the capacity within schools to teach programming.  Currently, the Mobile App Lab has expanded to four additional schools, including Pittsburgh Obama, South Fayette High School, Quaker Valley High School, and Mars Area High School, and has expanded to reach 78 students and 18 facilitators.

Each fall, Winchester Thurston School [WT] accepts applications from students (grades 9-12) in the Pittsburgh region to attend a 7-week long afterschool program at WT that teaches students to program an Android-based mobile application using the Processing language. The program is taught by WT Computer Science teacher, David Nassar, and WT student mentors.

The program runs in October and November and includes a trip to Google Bakery Square. No experience is required. Accepted students are responsible for travel to and from Winchester Thurston.

Upon completion, student participants are required to present an overview of the program to their school administration and teachers. Curricular resources will be provided to help schools build capacity to teach programming during and outside of the school day, and participating students are encouraged to advocate toward this end.

Ultimately, we hope to create a peer-network community of high school students interested in programming who work as student leaders in their home schools to teach others the skills they learned during the Mobile App Lab.


1. Schools may use the Mobile App Lab curriculum to design their own afterschool program or use in classes during the school day. We ask that schools register with us by emailing Teresa DeFlitch at deflitcht@winchesterthurston.org so that we may keep in touch and connect students as necessary. For example, participating schools will be invited to participate in an AppJam each spring, hosted by Winchester Thurston School and a Pittsburgh organization.

2. Schools may encourage students in grades 9-12 to apply to the Winchester Thurston Mobile App Lab so that the students themselves can lead curricular change at their home schools.

3. Area programmers, software engineers, and companies interested in mentoring or speaking with participating students should contact Teresa DeFlitch at deflitcht@winchesterthurston.org.