TrackMyRep wins Rep. Katherine Clark’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Massachusetts’s Fifth District
Rep. Katherine Clark has named Simon Juknelis, an 11th Grader at Noble and Greenough School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Massachusetts’s Fifth District.
When asked what inspired the creation of TrackMyRep, the student said, ”I was inspired to create TrackMyRep when I learned that 63% of Americans cannot name their House representative and 47% do not even know what party their representative is a member of. This matched my own anecdotal experience; I found that almost all of my peers as well as all of the adults around me knew who the president was, many of them knew who their senators were, but only a small number knew the name of their House representative. This is concerning because if people don’t know who their representatives are, then they certainly don’t know how their representatives are voting on matters of policy. At the heart of the American democratic system is the principle that lawmakers will represent the views of the people and are responsible to the people. However, this is undermined when most people do not know how exactly their House representatives are working to help them.
Many of the people I asked were well-informed when it came to politics. They knew what policies were making their way through the government as well as the names of some proposed bills. This led me to the conclusion that many people read the news and are generally interested in politics but just are not learning what their representative’s views are. It is easy to see why most people are not getting this info. For most topics, to learn your representative’s voting record, you have to pause reading your news article, open a new tab, go to congress.gov, search for the subject you want to know their representative’s opinion on, find a bill you are interested in, and then navigate through a series of additional menus to finally see how your representative voted. Most people simply do not have the time to do this lengthy process for every issue they care about. As I designed TrackMyRep, I aimed to simplify obtaining this information as much as possible. With TrackMyRep, it takes just one click to get a sense of your representative’s views on the main topic discussed in the news article you’re reading, and a second click gives you access to a plethora of information that allows you to specifically learn about your representative’s voting record on several different aspects of that topic.”
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.