WHO WE ARE.
We are Members of the U.S. House of Representatives hosting district-wide Congressional App Challenges for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science.
Every year we challenge students in our districts to create and submit their original apps for a chance to win the Congressional App Challenge (CAC). Each challenge is district-specific. As U.S. Representatives we publicly recognize our winning teams and each winning app may be put on display in the U.S. Capitol Building for one year. Additional prizes may be available. The Congressional Internet Caucus initiates the annual CAC. We have appointed the non-profit Internet Education Foundation to provide the CAC with supplemental staffing and support.
The Congressional App Challenge’s mission is to inspire, include, and innovate efforts around STEM, coding, and computer science education.
To inspire students from every corner of the country to explore STEM, coding and computer science through hands-on practice
To actively include and engage students from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in the tech community
To innovate policymaking by connecting Members of Congress to new and emerging technologies through personal interactions with their student constituents
In 2013 leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and at the Internet Education Foundation sought to foster an appreciation for computer science and STEM. That year House leadership brought to the floor and overwhelmingly passed House Resolution 77 – Academic Competition Resolution of 2013, with 411 votes to 3. Representative Candice Miller, the Chairwoman of the Committee on House Administration and principal sponsor of the bill, spoke on the House floor about the need to inspire students to pursue careers in computer science (YouTube video).
Through House Resolution 77, the U.S. House of Representatives outlined the plans by which Representatives would host district-by-district computer science, or “app”, competitions every year for students. In October of 2015 the Committee on House Administration unanimously passed the rules and regulations allowing each Representative to host an “Officially-Sanctioned” computer science competition in their districts. The rules for “Officially-Sanctioned Competitions” are now ensconced in the Members’ Congressional Handbook.
The rules require that the bipartisan chairs of the Congressional Internet Caucus officially request a new officially-sanctioned “app” competition every Congress. The chairs also request that the Internet Education Foundation serve as the official outside “sponsor” of the competition. The Committee then grants the request in a letter and the Congressional App Challenge begins.
The first official Congressional App Challenge launched under the leadership of the inaugural CAC Co-Chairs Reps. Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). Reps. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Seth Moulton (D-MA) took over as co-chairs in 2016, and in the first two years of the Challenge, the CAC reached nearly 4,000 students across 33 states. Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) took over as co-chairs in 2017. In 2018 Representatives Suzan DelBene and French Hill became the co-chairs for a two year term. Reps. Jennifer Wexton and Young Kim chair the competition for the 117th Congress. In the first seven years of the Challenge, the CAC has inspired over 40,000 students across all 50 states to code for congress.