MDAttractions wins Rep. John Sarbanes’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Maryland’s Third District

Rep. John Sarbanes has named Alexander Luo, an 11th Grader at River Hill High School, as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Maryland’s Third District.

When asked what inspired the creation of MDAttractions, the student said, ”When I took a trip to Canada for a hackathon and I told people that I’m from Maryland, they either responded with “where?” or “oh that place with Johns Hopkins.” This caught my attention because as someone who’s lived in Maryland my entire life, I realized that I think similarly of other places. When I think of Canada, I think of Toronto and CN Tower, when I think of New York, I think of New York City and the Statue of Liberty, and when I think of California, I think of nice weather, Bay Area, LA, and Hollywood. As a local, I can confidently name several fun places to go within a ten mile radius of wherever I happen to be standing, but as an outsider, I can’t name more than three attractions in Canada, New York, or California. In addition, the wake of COVID-19 has left many small businesses struggling. With these inspirations in mind, I created MDAttractions to help visitors (and even locals) have a great time in Maryland!”

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.