HALO wins Rep. Katie Porter’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 45th District

Rep. Katie Porter has named Diya Sreedhar, a 10th Grader at Troy High School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 45th District.

When asked what inspired the creation of HALO, the student said, ”Each year, over 300,000 people are diagnosed with central nervous system cancers worldwide. My family has struggled with cancer after losing a relative to Glioblastoma, so my goal is to make healthcare information resources more accessible to doctors and patients around the world who deal with CNS cancers as well.

Although there have been major advances in cancer detection through non-invasive methods such as MRI imaging, diagnosis and prognosis techniques are labor-intensive and inefficient. These are also not equally available to patients, physicians or hospitals in much of the developing world. This presents a promising field for technology-based solutions that can help automate the data processing and analysis of clinical information.

By training and deploying the classification and prognosis models on the cloud and making them accessible to researchers and physicians worldwide, I hope to contribute to the broader research community. Clinicians can enhance the models with patient data from different ethnicities and backgrounds, which will reduce prediction bias. HALO will also help achieve the two primary goals of President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative: to reduce the cancer death rate by half within 25 years and improve the lives of people with cancer and cancer survivors. HALO will have a significant positive impact on faster, more accurate diagnosis and survival prognosis of cancer patients worldwide.”

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.