The congressional office for Maryland’s 7th District has named three Ellicott City students as the winner of the Congressional App Challenge in Maryland’s 7th district. Mount Hebron School’s Caroline Kasuba, Shreya Santhanagopala and Rashi Kejriwal submitted Safe Haven, an app that is designed to provide safe, comfortable temporary homes through crowd-sourced volunteers for people who have been displaced by natural disasters.
When asked why they were passionate about creating a housing assistance app the students replied, “In 2018, an intense storm in the Ellicott City area dropped a large, abnormal amount of rainfall that has gathered on impervious surfaces, creating a flash flood. Cars were swept down this new river that was once a road, the structural foundations of businesses were slammed into rubble, and homes were completely destroyed with their remnants being washed down stream.” They hope 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.