Pocket Congress wins Rep. Barbara Lee’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 13th District

Rep. Barbara Lee has named Siddharth Bhatia, an 11th Grader at Piedmont High School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 13th District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Pocket Congress, the student said, ”In history class, we learn that the public nature of American democracy – the ability of the people to know what their representatives are doing and hold them accountable – is one of the most important components of our system of government. When I wanted to know what my congressperson was working on, I found the information was difficult to find. Many people don’t even know who their representatives are. I was inspired to create Pocket Congress because I knew an app was the perfect tool to bridge this information gap and make these records accessible.”

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.