PlantDoc wins Rep. Judy Chu’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 27th District

Rep. Judy Chu has named Nick Li from Mark Keppel High School and Annie Zhang from Alhambra High School as the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 27th District.

When asked what inspired the creation of PlantDoc, the students said, “We built the Android mobile app, “PlantDoc”, to help people determine the health condition of their plant and what disease it might have. Our inspiration stems from when our parents were tending the garden, they were always unsure of why the apples on our trees would always become black before fully ripening or why the leaves on the cherry trees always had white powdery mildew.  We combined our passion for computer science and our yearn to assist our parents to collaborate and engineer a solution to this dilemma. Using our existing programming knowledge and interest in machine learning, we took the opportunity to venture into mobile app development to solve this issue. We chose to make our app a mobile app as opposed to a desktop app or website to make it more convenient and accessible for the users. Through creating this project over the course of a month, we learned to use different platforms and resources to incorporate into our app. Namely, Firebase, Google Cloud, Android Studio, and Kaggle among others. PlantDoc utilizes Firebase to store user account data such as email, password, and images uploaded as well as to track app analytics to find areas to improve on the app in the future. In addition, PlantDoc employs Google Cloud to train our machine learning dataset obtained from Kaggle while we used Android Studio to construct the application.”

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.