Volapyk wins Rep. Adam Smith’s 2023 Congressional App Challenge in Washington’s Ninth District

Rep. Smith has named Davin Aoyama and Abhay Raj as the winners of the 2023 Congressional App Challenge in Washington’s Ninth District.

When asked what inspired the creation of Volapyk, the students said, “As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, companies hide the negative implications of such progress. With millions of websites and applications in existence, it would take an average person 30 years to read every privacy policy and terms of service they agree to. Growing up among this world as young adults, we became scared of the invasive privacy practices on the internet. We spent three years testing various privacy tools to decrease our online fingerprint and switching to privacy respecting services like Protonmail. The more we learned about how to defend ourselves, the more we realized how broken the system was. With these concerns, we decided the best way to create change was to further the education of the public. Our goal is to create actionable change for users in the present (through scoring and analysis) while also raising privacy awareness conducive to the advocacy of future systematic change.”

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.