Teen Innovator Wins National Award with AI Chatbot for Mental Health

Published March 14, 2024

A talented Haileybury student has garnered national recognition by securing a prestigious technology award for an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot designed to bolster the mental well-being of teenagers.

At the young age of 15, Milana Kumykova earned top honors in her age group's division at the 2023 Young ICT Explorers competition, which challenges youngsters to employ technology in addressing real-world dilemmas.

The commendable initiative named 'Purple' is the result of Milana's year-long commitment to creating a chatbot that grants young individuals access to trustworthy mental health resources. Purple's advanced capabilities do not stop there; it keenly assesses user data to connect them with uplifting activities proven to enhance one's mental state.

Pioneering a Virtual Companion

'Purple' sets itself apart by introducing 'Violet,' a virtual companion that offers adolescents the solace of interaction through voice or video, ensuring no child feels alone with their struggles.

Milana shared how the project stemmed from a personal ambition to engineer an AI application that alleviates the complexities faced by her peers, emphasizing the importance of a nonjudgmental, secure platform for those wrestling with life's challenges.

The genesis of 'Purple' traces back to the end of 2022 as a part of the Digitech Explorers and StartUp programs at Haileybury, an institution that Milana has been considerably involved with, notably as the Middle School STEM Captain.

Early Beginnings to Medical Aspirations

Milana, no stranger to the beckoning world of technology, has been coding since seven. Her journey started with basic coding activities and gradually escalated to mastering an array of programming languages. Her participation in the Digitech Explorers from the seventh grade and a persistent engagement in STEM endeavors reflect her profound interest in the field. Looking forward, Milana aspires to fuse her technological acumen with her ambition of becoming a medical professional specifically, an endocrinological specialist.

Haileybury's impressive track record at the Young ICT Explorers awards showcases a five-year streak of national titles, underscoring the school's dedication to technological advancement and real-world problem-solving. Damien Del Vecchio, the Coordinator of Digitech Explorers at Haileybury, hails the competition as a valuable avenue for students to explore tech frontiers, sharpen technical skills, and apply their knowledge and skills in truly impactful ways.

innovation, education, health