Rep. Chris Stewart has named Hanxiao Shi of West High School and Sanskriti Negi of West High School as the winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Utah’s Second District.
When asked what inspired the creation of Velox, the students said, ”We both had learned a lot of coding through online tutorials, and self-pursued projects outside of school. From our experience, we found great beginner tutorials online, but as we became more proficient at coding, we found these types of tutorials could be redundant when just wanting to learn a new language’s syntax, thus resorting to frequent, ad-hoc Google searches.
Learning a new programming language from the basics is like learning a new concept in mathematics – if you must start with basic arithmetic each time, you end up wasting a lot of time re-learning concepts you already know. This can be discouraging to new coders – of which the industry needs – who want to jump from language to language, and are instead forced to focus on one. While there are benefits to language specialization, the ability to jump from language to language is essential in modern industry, as many coding projects require more than one coding language. In fact, the University of the People, a tuition-free academic program, advises learning at least one new programming language a year.
Thus, we aimed to create a clean, straightforward tutorial application that could teach users syntax quickly, hence the name “Velox” – Latin for “quick.” Velox was designed specifically with extensibility in mind: as we learn more languages, we can add to the app’s curriculum database, making more languages accessible to a broader audience.”
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.