ChatGuard wins Rep. Eric Swalwell’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 15th District

Rep. Eric Swalwell has named Joel Johnson, Aryaman Kukal, Chaitya Jodhavat, and Sriram Natarajan of American High School as the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 15th District.

When asked what inspired the creation of ChatGuard, the students said, “Roughly 4 in 10 Americans have been victims of online harassment, and 62% of Americans believe it is a major problem. In most cases, these experiences simply include behaviors and actions that are trivial and simply serve as nuisances of social media. But nearly 20% of Americans have been subjected to severe forms of online harassment, such as physical threats, prolonged cyber harassment, or sexual harassment, and little is being done to protect people and provide them education on the ways to combat such issues. Individuals, especially young people, are constantly at a loss of what to do in these circumstances; this comes to their own detriment and allows harassers to continue making people feel inevitably unsafe online. Thus, we built ChatGuard to fix these issues, and prevent sexual harassment as much as possible.”

The 2021 Congressional App Challenge yielded 2,101 fully functioning apps. After eighteen months of disruptions to educational cadences for students everywhere, the Congressional App Challenge came roaring back with 7,174 students registering for this year’s competition. All told, 340 Members of Congress hosted Congressional App Challenges in their districts across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, D.C.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official 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. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, theCoderSchool, Facebook, Replit, Accenture, and others.

The 2022 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2022, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.