Rep. Zoe Lofgren has named Kedaar Rentachintala from BASIS Independent Silicon Valley as the winner of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 19th District.
When asked what inspired the creation of CivicSense, the student said, “According to the Brookings Institute and Pew Research Center, 1/4 Americans cannot tell the branches of government from each other, while 83% of Americans distrust the government. From my personal experience, my friends and I have participated in various civic engagement activities, like town halls and protests, but we have often felt overwhelmed by the amount of information thrown at us. No information is concise and compressed into an easy-to-understand format. Given that I live in a major city with significant infrastructure and a well-formed educational system, individuals without the kinds of resources I have are likely even worse off than I was. If people start taking action and making a difference, they will feel motivated to do more to help their communities grow and prosper, just like I thought when I first started volunteering. Millions of people cannot participate in activities that directly impact them because they do not know where to start; hence CivicSense is the one-stop shop for everything related to opportunity identification and general learning.”
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.