RoutineRemind wins Rep. Jennifer Wexton’s 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Virginia’s 10th District
Rep. Jennifer Wexton has named Samvrit Rao of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Rohan Kotla of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, and Soham Jain of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology as the winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in Virginia’s 10th District.
When asked what inspired the creation of RoutineRemind, the students said, ”The primary idea for this app came from one of our team members, whose younger brother is on the autism spectrum. His brother has frequent tantrums, anxiety, and other behavioral problems whenever he is unaware of his schedule, or when his teachers/caretakers are not able to provide answers regarding his schedule. Based on a county-wide survey we conducted among families of special needs children, we realized that this is a recurring problem affecting children with autism and other cognitive disabilities. This inspired us to develop RoutineRemind, a user-friendly application for parents to record verbal schedules, which can be easily accessed by children of any cognitive ability with the click of a button. Not only is this more flexible and effective than a paper-based schedule, but it is also more personalized, as children get to hear the schedule and routines in their parent’s voice. In addition, since RoutineRemind is a mobile application, it can be used in any setting.
We are all interested in machine learning because it is a fast-growing and relatively novel field that allows developers to create a wide variety of apps where computers can generate an output using data-driven algorithms. These outputs can be used to address problems in today’s world without the need for human assistance. In our app, we used various machine learning libraries to develop our natural language processing (NLP) algorithm for speech recognition. Through the use of this model, children with special needs can ask questions and access information about their schedules without the need for parental assistance. Furthermore, we implemented and built on different skills and techniques we learned through our computer science courses at school. In the end, we love helping our community and we were able to code an application that solved a real-world problem that is very close to our hearts.”
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.