XMalaria Wins Rep. McBath’s (GA-06) 2019 Congressional App Challenge

Rep. Lucy McBath has named a Marietta student as the winner of the Congressional App Challenge in Georgia’s 6th district. George Walton Comprehensive High School’s Bill Sun submitted XMalaria, an app that provides an automated means of diagnosing malaria from thin blood smear images.

When asked why they were passionate about creating an app for diagnosing Malaria the students replied, “I learned basic information about malaria, such as the life cycle of the Plasmodium parasite, which causes the disease, symptoms of malaria, and currently used mechanisms of diagnosing and treating the disease. Furthermore, in third-world countries where malaria is most prevalent, methods such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are often too expensive for patients to afford. This led me to wonder how diagnosing malaria could be enhanced, in a fast and cost effective manner.” The student hopes to encourage other students to better their communities by using their computer science skills.  

Over 10,000 students registered for the 2019 Congressional App Challenge. These students created and submitted 2,177 functioning apps, marking the end of the most successful Congressional App Challenge to date. All told, 304 Members of Congress hosted Congressional App Challenges in their districts across 48 states, Puerto Rico, the Mariana Islands, and Washington, D.C.

The CAC is an initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. The non-profit Internet Education Foundation provides the CAC with supplemental staffing and support. In the five years of the Congressional App Challenge, the program has yielded 1134 App Challenges across 48 states. Thousands of functional apps have been created by over 25,000 students, and participant demographics surpass all industry diversity metrics.