The Congressional App Challenge works closely with Members of Congress to inspire middle and high school students to pursue careers in computer science and STEM. This week, we interviewed Rep. Michelle Steel of California’s 48th Congressional District. Rep. Steel serves on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Committee on Education and Labor.
Congressional App Challenge (CAC): Why do you think students should take part in the Congressional App Challenge?
Rep. Steel: The Congressional App Challenge is a great way for students to think creatively, improve their computer science skills, and explore a career in STEM. It is a fun and unique learning opportunity for all students.
CAC: Students are only allowed to take part in the challenge if hosted by their representative. Why did you think it was essential to promote this challenge in your district?
Rep. Steel: It’s important to promote this challenge in my district because we have so many talented young people who deserve the chance to sharpen their computer science skills. I also think it’s important that we encourage STEM education and learning for the next generation, especially among young women.
CAC: How will you encourage students in your district to take part in the challenge?
Rep. Steel: My team has been in contact with the educators in our district to make sure their students are aware of the opportunity. We have also been actively spreading the word on social media in hopes this reaches parents and students.
CAC: What advice do you have for students who may be hesitant to participate in the challenge because they don’t think they are strong enough coders?
Rep. Steel: Being great at anything takes a lot of hard work. The only way to get better at coding is to practice – and this challenge is a great way to do that. Lots of other students are sharpening their skills through this challenge and it’s never too late to start learning!
CAC: What do you think the long-term benefits of having the Congressional App Challenge are?
Rep. Steel: The long-term benefit of this challenge is that it gives students the experience and confidence to pursue careers in computer science. Our kids are our future, and this competition empowers them to explore this field and potentially pursue these career paths.
CAC: The App Challenge is a bipartisan initiative with support from both Republicans and Democrats. Why should members, regardless of their political affiliation, host App Challenges in their districts?
Rep. Steel: Members should host this challenge because we should all give the students in our districts the opportunity to build skills that will help them to become the next generation of innovators.
CAC: Did you ever take a computer science course in school?
Rep. Steel: No! Computers were nothing like what they were now when I was in school.
Remember, the App Challenge is live so students can register and submit their apps between now and November 1st!
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