ICUSpeak wins Rep. Austin Scott’s 2023 Congressional App Challenge in Georgia’s Eighth District

Rep. Scott has named Aarin Dave of Lowndes High School and Aarav Dave of Hahira Middle School as the winners of the 2023 Congressional App Challenge in Georgia’s Eighth District.

When asked what inspired the creation of ICUSpeak, the students said, “Our application was inspired by a real-life incident. Mrs. Taylor, our school’s FBLA Chapter Advisor and Congressional App Challenge mentor, had an idea based on an experience of her father-in-law, Mr. Freddie Taylor. Mr. Taylor had a heart surgery at UF Shands Heart and Vascular Hospital to implant a LVAD, after which he was unable to speak because he was intubated for several days and suffered from vocal cord damage. Because of this, Freddie became agitated as he was unable to communicate to doctors, nurses, and family. Hahira Middle School and Lowndes High School’s Speech and Language Pathologist, Dr. Hallie Eckdahl, showed us that the pre-existing softwares was not only irrelevant to our cause but also extremely hard to use, old, and inefficient. This, along with UF Shands showing to us how there were thousands of patients out there who would benefit from an application like this, led us to create an app that enables prior or post- surgery patients to communicate through an application and a hardware device.”

This year’s Challenge saw an unprecedented level of participation, with 374 Members of the House of Representatives hosting competitions, surpassing the previous record of 340. A remarkable 11,334 students from across the United States competed in this year’s Challenge, marking an impressive increase of nearly 1,000 participants compared to the previous record set in 2019. The enthusiasm and creativity these students display is a testament to the growing interest in technology and signal a bright future for American innovation. The surge of ingenuity continued with a whopping 3,645 original applications flooding in, nearly a thousand more than the previous year’s high. This remarkable growth showcases the exceptional talent and innovation within our nation’s youth.

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. This resounding show of bipartisan support emphasizes the critical importance of STEM education in today’s rapidly evolving world. 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 2024 Congressional App Challenge will launch in May of 2024, and eligible students can pre-register for the competition now.