Virtual Motion Therapy (VMT) wins Rep. John Moolenaar’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Michigan’s Fourth District

Rep. John Moolenaar has named Lauren McGuirk, Allison Scheffer, and Elliana Rinn from Midland High School as the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Michigan’s Fourth District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Virtual Motion Therapy (VMT), the students said, “Our team was inspired to pursue this project because one of our teammates’ grandfathers passed away from Parkinson’s disease just over a year ago. When he was sick, there weren’t a lot of accessible resources to help him live with his chronic and worsening condition. In creating this app, we hope to successfully help Parkinson’s patients by providing them with the necessary resources to increase their life expectancy and slow the progression of the disease. By creating this app we hope to also open opportunities for other neurodegenerative disease communities to create virtual therapies that are beneficial and cost effective. In addition we will learn more about building a business plan, talking to professionals, conducting credible research, and developing a strong foundation of communication skills when it comes to expressing our collective ideas. We plan to continue to pursue our project without step-by-step instructions so that we are comfortable with a more independent learning environment by the time we enroll in college. This will also give us the opportunity to connect what we learn in school to potential career options.”

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.