TeenSpace wins Rep. Mike Levin’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 49th District

Rep. Mike Levin has named Rini Khandelwal, an 11th Grader at Del Norte High School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 49th District.

When asked what inspired the creation of TeenSpace, the student said, ”In March 2022, my school grappled with two bomb threats in one week. It was frightening and confusing, since we’d never heard of a school getting a bomb threat before and never reviewed what to do if we got one. This apprehension and confusion was only worsened after our school received a shooter threat just two days after the Uvalde school shooting. Everyone panicked, since once again, we had never been taught what to do in case of a shooting threat. Had we been taught what to do in these situations, we could have been more prepared and think more calmly should anything have happened. Wanting to take action, I got to thinking what the best way would be for everyone to effectively learn how to stay safe in a shooting. I initially thought of learning through a school assembly, but given the fact that every teenager at my school ignored any information told in assemblies, it was clear to me that school assemblies were not the best solution. However, my peers were usually engaged during class when we learned information by playing trivia games like Quizziz or Kahoot! or whatever game the teacher made up. It seemed like the best way to push out information to teenagers was trivia games. As I worked on the app, I realized that there was more safety information that teenagers needed to know other than gun safety: all the information covered in the assemblies that teenagers had ignored, including cybersafety, drug safety, driving safety, and dating safety. I included all of these categories in my app, along with gun safety, and researched and produced questions to help teenagers gain understanding on how to stay safe.”

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.