Teen Addiction Shield (TAS) wins Rep. Michael Burgess’s 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Texas’s 26th District

Rep. Michael Burgess has named Iishaan Inabathini of Reedy High School, Abhiram Nandiraju of Frisco High School, Sreeja Surisetti of Reedy High School, and Ratik Kasarla of Reedy High School as the winners of the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Texas’s 26th District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Teen Addiction Shield (TAS), the students said, “Using Teen Addiction Shield, parents can submit a weekly form about their child’s health so that the app can analyze their answers and tell the parents about their teenage child’s risk of drug/substance abuse. It lists additional steps and measures that the parents can take to solve this problem. This can include drug and suicide hotlines and advice on actions, like talking to your child, visiting a psychiatrist, or having your teen’s pediatrician recommend one. The app clarifies that the app only displays the risk of drug abuse and that it is not a true diagnosis after the questionnaire is completed. The app recommends the parents be more engaged in the teen’s life, regardless of whether or not they think their teen is abusing substances. For example, it makes sure that they know what their child does during the day and who they are with during the day. The app displays previous results and creates graphs that show the teen’s health progress. It does this by using a previous results page, which has a table and a line graph to show how the child’s health and risk levels have been progressing. There is a second and more important part of the app, and that is how it changes the way parents think about substance abuse. Many sources in our research show a fundamental difference when a parent is engaged with their child’s life. This includes watching out for common symptoms, like how much sleep the child gets on average, and if the parent knows who the child is spending time with. All of the questions are based on real substance abuse symptoms that were given to us by Dr. Raj Kalapatu, who has worked professionally in substance abuse.”

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.