PALM COAST, Fla. (April 11, 2024) – It was a surprise ending as ‘Team Click’ took home the top honors during the 3rd Annual UNF MedNexus Challenge.

Held at the Palm Coast Community Center, Stanton Preparatory School students Teju Vegi, Annabel Kaye, Sage Peterson and Owen Bayley, led by coach Stephanie Hooper, an instructor at the University of North Florida, pitched a time limiting app that redirected users to healthy activities after time on social media apps, using psychology.

Sharing a demo of the app, the students hope to take it live with real world applications and users.

“We did do a survey with our school and we found that it was about 6, 7 all the way up to 9 hours of use so it’s definitely a big problem,” said Annabel Kaye. “With our app we just wanted to make it the easiest and most fun for teens to like get off social media and enjoy it as well.”

“We’re not saying get off social media forever, we’re saying we can limit the time on social media, and moderation is the key,” added Teju Vegi. “We don’t understand how much time we spend on social media sometimes. We can tell ourselves 5 more minutes and it’s an hour or two hours. Moderation is what our app is focusing on.”

“I feel gifted we got to do this experience and take home a thousand dollars worth of scholarship money. It’s a blessing,” said Owen Bayley.

“The most important thing we learned is that we have each other,” shared the team.

Palm Coast Acting City Manger Lauren Johnston and Dr. Julie Merten, Associate Dean of MedNexus.

The third in the competition series, the UNF MedNexus Challenge is an opportunity to plug into the next generation’s thought processes and problem-solving skills and tap into the emerging talent pipeline.

This year’s competition focused on breaking the younger generation’s addiction to social media. The four teams presented either digital applications or programs designed to change habits and reward positive behavior changes. In several cases statistics presented helped the students, and audience, gain a better understanding of teen use of social media apps.

“It’s critical to it because we can identify the talent early, get them excited, get them engaged, not that this group needs any extra excitement. I think it may excite us more than anything,” said Dr. Julie Merten, Associate Dean of MedNexus. “They all came at it from such a different angle.”

Merten is looking forward to growing UNF’s presence in the schools to further expand opportunities for the students to excel.

“We want to grow in the schools and continue this MedNexus Innovation Challenge. We’re academic programs. We’re going to expand graduate programs down here,” she said. “We love this synergy.”

Winners and judges celebrate a successful 3rd Annual UNF MedNexus Challenge.
Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin addresses the attendees.
Team Project ReThink aka The Car Guys
Team Pursuit of Excellence
Team Pump