Rep. Nancy Pelosi has named India Poetzscher, an 11th Grader at San Francisco University High School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 12th District.
When asked what inspired the creation of SkinChem, the student said, ”In a world where climate change, pollution, and other environmental issues are rapidly worsening, action must be taken to combat these toxic chemicals’ dangers. That is why, this past summer, I decided to do independent research in this area, focused on how environmental toxins affect human health through the skin. After hours and hours of thorough research and compelling findings, I knew I needed to present this information somehow. I landed on the idea of a mobile app because it is the best and most effective way to share what I had learned and the conclusions I had come to. The main goal of my app and research has always been to increase awareness and accessibility around this field of information, giving people the freedom to make the best decisions for their own skin and health. While it is true that the devastating effects of climate change and environmental issues can be overwhelming and discouraging, there is so much opportunity for change. My small contribution to a much larger-scale, global issue became my primary source of inspiration to continue improving my app and is my proudest achievement from this entire process.”
The Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records in 2022. All told, 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition – creating 2,707 fully-functioning apps for 335 Members of Congress across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, most apps per district submitted, and most districts receiving over 20 apps. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent.
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, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and others.
The 2023 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June of 2023, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.