The Winchester Thurston School is home to the afterschool program, Mobile App Lab. For seven weeks, high school students (who have applied to the program), learn and work the complex steps to building an Android-based app.

The Lab has expanded to programs at Pittsburgh Obama, South Fayette High School, Quaker Valley High School, and Mars Area High School, now including a total of 78 students and 18 facilitators.

In addition to the students’ study and creation of an app, they also take a trip to Google’s office in Bakery Square and have the chance to spend time with their world-renown software engineers. The culmination of the class is a presentation at the student’s home school to teachers and administrators. Curriculum materials—created by Winchester Thurston upper school teacher David Nassar—are available to other schools that wish to incorporate programming in their school day.

Mobile App Lab is offered at no cost to accepted students (though they are required to provide their own transportation). Applications are accepted each fall and the program runs from late October until mid-December. No experience is required to apply to the program, and those with experience can apply to be an App Lab Student Mentor.