Springside Chestnut Hill (SCH) Academy junior Zach Schapiro isn’t your average teenager. While most kids his age were glued to their phone on their favorite apps, Schapiro got to work on …
Springside Chestnut Hill (SCH) Academy junior Zach Schapiro isn’t your average teenager. While most kids his age were glued to their phone on their favorite apps, Schapiro got to work on creating one: Election Accomplice.
Election Accomplice is a mobile app designed to educate young voters on the election process in an interactive way. The app has two key components: the strategy game and the 2020 forecasting model.
The strategy game matches players against presidential opponents of their choice to see who wins the election. Players get to choose their political ideology and participate in campaign activities to swing states in their favor. From there, players either win or lose the election.
The 2020 forecast model is a voting simulator that tracks current election polling. Powered by demographic data, local and national economic forecasts and top-rated polling data, Schapiro’s forecaster runs 500 - 1,000 simulations a day and computes election results. Users can choose to explore analytics through the model’s “What Are the Odds?” section where users create their own state-by-state conditions to see how it impacts the election.
The app took Schapiro 20 hours to design, 100 to program and is constantly being updated to reflect the most recent data, trends and election standings. As of our interview on September 30th, Election Accomplice has 316 downloads, a number sure to grow exponentially as the 2020 election approaches.
Schapiro’s love for strategy games and prediction models began when he started watching sports.
“I was getting into sports, specifically football, and I wanted to see if I could make a prediction model to see which team would win a certain game and if I could beat the Vegas odds,” Schapiro said. “I spent some time with that and learned about prediction models, random chance events, and how to program.”
Being able to interpret data is a critical life skill for the 21st century. Schapiro was motivated to give his peers an entertaining way to become data literate in an increasingly data-driven society.
“Understanding data is even more critical for kids today than ever before. We’re inundated with data, charts, graphs and it’s pretty easy to make numbers tell a slanted story. It’s incumbent on my generation to understand and be comfortable working with data and be critically thinking about what the data means. The better we are, the better we’ll be at consuming the news.”
Schapiro pursued his programming and app developing endeavors through SCH’s Center of Entrepreneurial Leadership and through the school’s renowned robotics program. The robotics program at SCH is a bona fide leader in the field with international acclaim and alumni attending MIT, Caltech, Princeton, Penn, Columbia, Brown, Carnegie Mellon and several other prestigious schools across America.
In 2019, the school’s robotics team won the FIRST World Robotics Tournament. With 400 teams from Philadelphia to The Netherlands competing for the coveted title of first place, SCH’s robotics team persevered to become world champions. The final round of the tournament was held at Ford Stadium, home of the Detroit Lions. Schapiro was a member of this team.
Schapiro is also a member of the golf, tennis, and chess teams at SCH. He enjoys playing recreational basketball as well.
Although only a junior in high school, Schapiro understands how crucial it is to ensure young American voters are knowledgeable on the election process.
“I’m not old enough to vote, but I know how important it is for my friends and for me to understand the process and get involved now,” Schapiro said.
For more information and to download the app: apps.apple.com/us/app/election-accomplice/id1524097147