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He is 19 years old, created an app to rescue pets and discovered his passion for technology

Agustina Hufschmid is 19 years old, she is from Argentina and is preparing to start a degree in Science, Technology and Society at the University of Pennsylvania, in the United States. “It’s a mix between technologyhistory and anthropology”, explains in summary.

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This path is quite far from what he thought his path would be, when he was still in high school and thought he would study Medicine or Biology.

What changed? Now technology stopped seeming distant to him, to become a tool with which to solve everyday problems. During 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, he decided to take advantage of those moments of “analog pause” to fully devote himself to the techie world.

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DogGo, an app to rescue stray animals and lost pets

She participated in different programs and workshops offered by the Girls in Technology organization, where she learned to code and rethink the digital universe from another logic. The first course she took was Protagonistas del Futuro, an online, regional and free program that seeks to encourage the inclusion of adolescents and women in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

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During that experience, Agustina learned content and skills to be the creator of digital solutions with social impact. In this context she developed the application DogGo, whose goal is to be a search and rescue tool for stray animals and lost pets.

The platform, which is programmed based on blocks, It has a map that allows users to post notices about lost or found animals, as well as access the locations of different veterinarians in case of emergency. In addition, it has a list of different NGOs that are dedicated to the care and transfer of different animals. Finally, it integrates a list of useful data for pet care and awareness of the situation of stray animals in Argentina.

“I proposed that it be easier to connect NGOs that are in charge of rescuing abandoned animals and can find them a home, through a form that allows users to contact these organizations as well as veterinarians in case of an emergency,” says Agustina .

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Regarding how the idea came about, he says the following: “walking down the street, I realized the large number of announcements and notices that there are for lost pets. I felt that this system had become obsolete, and that was where I had to act”.

Developing the first version of the platform took about three weeks.

I spent several days learning by trial and error, hoping that all the buttons work correctly and that no screens get stuck. With what we had learned about design in one of the workshops, I designed the logo, I used colors that were pleasing to the eye (lilac, in this case), and I tried to use various symbols to represent the different tools of the app. The public was the neighbors of my neighborhood and its surroundings, ”she recalls.

The app was the kick start for him to find his passion for technology. It motivated her to continue creating new products from that first development that worked as a springboard to discover a new universe.

In 2021 it was presented at the Technology for Inclusion Fair organized by La Matanza, in the Province of Buenos Aires. There he brought another app, called TAG, to help people experiencing panic attacks in emergency situations. It was programmed and designed with the same logic and technology as DogGo, but it shows an evolution in this type of development. The app received an honorable mention at the fair and led it to participate in the MILSET Science Fair for Latin America, which will take place this year.

Since last year I am also a mentor in some science and technology clubs, where I can constantly practice with different tools”, he adds.

She remembers her first steps in the technology workshops as “an incredible experience”, in which she felt constantly motivated and empowered.

It was this context of constant challenge, as well as the possibility of identifying that she could use technology in practical applications that led her to discover a new world. Before that, her relationship with the techie world was very different.

The technology did not attract my attention at all, in part I think it was because it was sold to me in a very archaic way: ‘To study something related to technology you have to do engineering’, or ‘you’re going to study only with men’”, says Agustina.

Have started the workshops; surrounding herself with other girls who, like her, were learning, helped her discover that technology could have a social side and, above all, that it could be conceived as a tool to solve problems.

I am happy to have finally found my passion.”he concludes.

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