iHearU wins Rep. Chrissy Houlahan’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Pennsylvania’s Sixth District

Rep. Chrissy Houlahan has named Aditya Dora of Conestoga High School and Mayank Dora of Conestoga High School as the winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Pennsylvania’s Sixth District.



When asked what inspired the creation of iHearU, the students said, ”We were inspired to create our app after doing some research on current issues. When looking for topics to address, we came across some alarming figures. According to a CAP analysis conducted from 2009-2018, on a daily basis, there are approximately 1100 threats of gun violence, 210 gun-related injuries, and 103 deaths due to guns during violent crimes.  And the current situation is worsening, as is evidenced by the constant barrage of gory images on news stations. Upon hearing these statistics and learning about the instances of gun violence (such as school shootings), we began to wonder “What if this happened to us or someone we know?” So, we started to think about what we could do. We talked to our school teachers about this and our Computer Science teacher was fascinated by our curiosity. He worked with us and told us to make an app and try to invoke change in our community. Though motivated by the sentiment, we were flabbergasted. We had little experience in app development, unaware of what asynchronous programming or app activities were when our computer science teacher was talking about the basics of apps. But after some consideration, we decided to follow through on our teacher’s recommendation, excited by the prospects of learning such an advanced topic. And though we started with block code, we learned a lot through our struggles and are prepared to improve this app with more advanced programming, like Java. The only question now was what should our app do? After days of deliberation, we decided to focus more on how we could keep the user safe than actually prevent the crime. As a result, we made an app that could help protect us in a dangerous situation. Using our app, iHearU, many perpetrators could be caught, many injuries could be less severe, and many deaths could be prevented.”



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.