HairWise wins Rep. Steve Cohen’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Tennessee’s Ninth District

Rep. Steve Cohen has named Anaya Murray of Faith Heritage Christian Academy, Johnathan Sherrill of Power Center Academy High school, Shaun Murray of Faith Heritage Christian Academy, and Jared Murray of Faith Heritage Christian Academy as the winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Tennessee’s Ninth District.

When asked what inspired the creation of HairWise, the students said, ”In our state alone, thousands of children are in foster care, and about a third are African-American. However, most foster parents are non-Hispanic white adults. For many children of color, hair is a part of their identity. Unfortunately, many children in the foster care system are placed with families who do not know how to deal with their natural hair. As a result, their hair is not taken care of properly, adding more shame and embarrassment to the child. We understand that having a foster child with a different hair type can be daunting for parents. Our hope is that the HairWise App will help families with the hair of their foster child and act as a hair guide for parents in their foster care journey.”

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.