First Name

Shirley

Last Name

Z.

Bio

Shirley Zhu, a junior at Bellaire High School in Texas, noticed that 1.3 billion pounds of food is wasted every year, yet one fifth of the Houston population is food insecure. So, she founded Fresh Hub, an organization that rescues unsold fruits, vegetables, and bread that would have otherwise been thrown away, and redistributes the food to residents of Houston food deserts. Over fourteen events, Fresh Hub has rescued 8,500 lbs of food and has served over 1,100 clients in Sunnyside and Kashmere. When Shirley was faced with the challenge of reaching out to the target population, she used her coding skills to create an app. The Fresh Hub app provides a map and a calendar of future Fresh Hub events. There is also an Information Hub with basic nutrition education, such as how to read a nutrition label, and a Recipe Hub that includes recipes using ingredients from Fresh Hub markets to promote home-cooked meals. The app also sends out notifications to the users three days prior and on the day of market events. In 2019, Shirley’s app was awarded as the winner of the Congressional App Challenge in her district. In addition to coding an app using Flutter, Shirley has also learned Java, HTML, and C. Furthermore, she has a job as the webmaster of the Rice University School of Mathematics Project’s website. Shirley wants to major in computer science in college and then become a computer programmer. In the rising age of technology, code is becoming more and more critical for the success of companies and businesses. Shirley is excited to use her programming skills to help others and create innovative solutions to current problems.