Demo Day at the White House: the Recap

On July 7th, we welcomed government leaders, Challenge judges, sponsors, mentors, and the five finalists to the White House for the Reach Higher Career App Challenge Demo Day. With a cash prize pool of $225,000 and $300,000 in donated in-kind prizes, the Challenge brings together the top minds in education, business, tech, and design to advance career planning technology.

The day kicked off with an incredible lineup of speakers, who shared insights into how these solutions could transform students’ lives. The speakers included:

  • Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President
  • Kim Ford, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education
  • Eric Waldo, Executive Director, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative
  • Albert Palacios, Education Program Specialist, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education

The finalists then presented their refined solutions to the judges, showing how they had progressed during the Virtual Accelerator, and offered a hands-on demonstration of their prototypes.

The presented solutions demonstrated the potential for career planning tools to harness open data, cognitive computing, predictive analytics, and location-based features to transform how students evaluate their strengths and interests, explore college and career options, and ultimately accomplish their goals.

We look forward to announcing the winner of the $100,000+ grand prize soon!

Here are some highlights from the day:

Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, said that “career coaching is connecting students with what they love” and in the process, matching underutilized talent with high-impact, high-demand careers.


The esteemed panel of Challenge judges at Demo Day (left to right): Aarti Dhupelia, VP of Strategic Initiatives, National Louis University; Gale Halsey, CLO and Director, Global Learning and Organization Development, Ford Motor Company; Arrun Kapoor, Managing Director, SJF Ventures; Cory Notestine, Counseling and Postsecondary Coordinator, Colorado Springs School District 11; and Daniel Weitzner, Director, MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative.


Reach Higher Career Challenge Demo Day, July 7, 2016

Ryan Hoch, Co-Founder & CEO of Overgrad, started the finalist presentations to showcase Overgrad to the judges.


The finalist team from presenting Inform Journeys.


The finalist team from ThinkZone Games presenting Hats & Ladders.


John Carney from MARi walking the judges through their mobile app demo.


The finalist team from the Pinellas Education Foundation presenting Future Plans®.


Please stay tuned for the winner announcement, coming soon!