Rep. Ben Lujan has named three Santa Fe students as the winner of the Congressional App Challenge in New Mexico’s 3rd district. STEM Santa Fe’s Ruth Calija, Ytzel Romo and Diana Vasquez submitted KAR (Kids Against Racism), an app that is made to inform people about racism. STEM Santa Fe is a non-profit organization that supports and provides STEM programming, mentoring, and resources for students in New Mexico. STEM Santa Fe has a specific focus on engaging students in traditionally underrepresented groups–particularly women, Hispanics, and Native Americans–in order to address the technology industry’s achievement gap.
When asked why they were passionate about creating an app on racism the students replied, “ We wanted to created this app because we feel that racism isn’t spoken about enough. It’s time to start making futuristic changes, and not wait until we’re older to make a difference.” 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.