GRASP (helping the General public Reach Astonishing Science Proficiency) wins Rep. Andy Levin’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Michigan’s Ninth District

Rep. Andy Levin has named Om Joshi from International Academy and Srikar Kusumanchi from Ravenwood High School as the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Michigan’s Ninth District.



When asked what inspired the creation of GRASP (helping the General public Reach Astonishing Science Proficiency), the students said, “According to Save Our Schools, 40% of children living in poverty aren’t prepared for primary schooling. Furthermore, according to the McKinsey Teacher sentiment survey, U.S. teachers rated remote learning a 3.5/10 in effectiveness, equating to schools being merely 35% effective. The idea had come up to Srikar and I when we began to take standardized exams in high school. Many of our peers had either registered for prep courses, ordered dozens of test books or found tutors. However, many of our close friends were unable to access options due to their hefty price tag. We realized that while some students are able to access online and paid resources, most students are not. Especially in the midst of a pandemic, the financial conditions of many families became fragile. Upon researching online, we found that most resources were limited in most capacity. There had to be another way, which is why we created GRASP, to help students receive detailed solutions to their problems, store these solutions and discuss them all in real time for free.”

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.