EmpowerMe wins Rep. Michael McCaul’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Texas’s 10th District

Rep. Michael McCaul has named Vibha Velur of Westwood High School, Mrigakshi Aich of Westwood High School, and Ashritha Aki of Vista Ridge High School as the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Texas’s 10th District.

When asked what inspired the creation of EmpowerMe, the students said, “Our team is aware of the challenges that people, especially young adults, face in their everyday lives and how it strongly impacts their mental health. This issue has seen its extremes in the COVID-19 pandemic as 56% of young adults have reported symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorder. Although our app does not provide medical advice, in order to try and improve this issue, we have created this app so that people are able to achieve some form of personal growth to cleanse their minds and live a healthy life with a positive mindset, which can impact their social behaviors, mental state, learning/cognitive abilities, work ethic, and much more. Since we are current high school students, we see this issue becoming increasingly prevalent throughout the school setting and based on complaints and grievances from our peers, we decided to create this app with beneficial features for everyone.”

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.