There's an app for that -- and if there isn't, the students participating in the 12-week CbusStudentHack Coding for Community: Health and Wellness program will try to develop one.

There's an app for that -- and if there isn't, the students participating in the 12-week CbusStudentHack Coding for Community: Health and Wellness program will try to develop one.

The programming challenge, sponsored by Franklin University and AT&T Ohio, started Oct. 3. Teams of two to four students will use Microsoft Touch Develop software to code and eventually develop digital applications -- apps -- designed to help improve health and wellness.

High schools participating include Reynoldsburg Encore and eSTEM Early College academies, Gahanna Lincoln High School, Marburn Academy, Metro Early College, Metro Institute of Technology and New Albany, Upper Arlington and Whetstone high schools.

Reynoldsburg eSTEM teacher Anne Trachsel said an example of a health-related app could be one that tracks a person's blood sugar levels over time.

"The person could enter the blood sugar reading when they test themselves," she said. "The app could track trends, such as the time of day that there were spikes and valleys. It could offer to link to sites providing advice."

In preparation for the challenge, teacher mentors from all the schools spent time learning more about Microsoft Touch Develop during the past month.

Students then gathered at Franklin University Oct. 3 to brainstorm project ideas, meet with representatives from Rev 1 Ventures, an entrepreneur development organization, and listen to keynote speaker Chris Hamrick, founder of the Columbus-based creative agency Basecraft.

The apps will be judged on software quality, the potential impact on the central Ohio region, execution and creativity.

The winning student team will be announced Dec. 11.

Christopher Washington, provost and senior vice president at Franklin University, said a "tech-talent shortage" has prompted universities and companies to collaborate to stimulate interest in technical fields.

"CBusStudentHack is one way that AT&T and Franklin are working together to promote computer science education, prepare high school students for college and careers and enable them to express their creativity," he said.

Trachsel said the Touch Develop software allows students to work together on the programming challenge.

"They can divide the work into logical sections, see what the other members of the team have done, etc.," she said. "They will do some of their work during our Fusion (advisory) period, but otherwise, will work outside of school time."

She said the contest is valuable because students will "experience the design process using an authentic real-world application."

"It will exercise their technical capabilities as well as their collaboration skills," she said. "That is a valuable part of their education and is something that we emphasize.

"They also will be able to apply their experience in any future career," she said.

Adam Grzybicki, president of AT&T Ohio, said his company made a $1.6 billion investment in its wireless and wireline networks between 2012 and 2014.

"By encouraging students in Columbus to learn to code and explore mobile app development, we are spotlighting the enormous demand for developers and engineers to create the software that will drive our mobile economy," he said.