DETICKT IT wins Rep. James “Jim” Himes’ 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Connecticut’s Fourth District

Rep. James “Jim” Himes has named Antonia Kolb, an 11th Grader at King School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Connecticut’s Fourth District.

When asked what inspired the creation of DETICKT IT, the student said, ”Living in a heavily-wooded area in Connecticut, ticks are very common throughout the area. Growing up, I was always told to check myself for ticks, but I did not know the danger of ticks and the prevalence of tick-borne diseases (TBDs). Last year, I was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening tick-borne infection after a year of misdiagnoses. I was shocked by the lack of awareness that some medical providers exhibited for tick-borne infections and ticks in general. This inspired me to create a way to assess the risk posed by ticks and to raise awareness of tick-borne diseases. I wanted to find a way to expedite the diagnosis and prognosis of tick-borne diseases since tick tests are expensive and take weeks to process, which is critical for time-sensitive diseases. I was amazed by the lack of available surveillance data on tick-borne illness incidence rates in the USA. Nevertheless, I took my convolutional neural network for tick identification to the next level and created an app using Swift for native iOS app development. I entered my app at the Connecticut Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF) and won 1st place in the Data Science and Bioinformatics category. After receiving positive feedback from peers, professionals, and fellow TBD patients, I decided to publish DETICKT IT on the App Store. I have received 575 downloads and continue to receive testimonials on the value of DETICKT IT and the impact it has made.”



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.