SociEmoti Wins Rep. Balderson’s (OH-12) 2019 Congressional App Challenge

Rep. Troy Balderson has named three Columbus students as the winner of the Congressional App Challenge in Ohio’s 12th district. McCord Middle School’s Kristina Ma, Stephen Ma and Arya Narayan submitted SociEmoti, an app that teaches elementary and middle school children with Autism social, emotional and communication skills in order to make more friends. 

When asked why they were passionate about creating an app that aids people in the autistic spectrum with their social skills the students replied, “We did some online research and discovered that the two skills children with Autism have the most trouble with are social and emotional skills. (They struggle to make friends because they have trouble reading nonverbal cues and emotions).” 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.