Congress Celebrates CS at Groundbreaking Virtual #HouseOfCode

From Wednesday, April 7th to Friday, April 9th, over 1,000 students, educators, and STEM supporters from congressional districts across the country joined dozens of Members of Congress to celebrate the 2020 Congressional App Challenge at #HouseOfCode, the world’s largest student CS celebration and demo day.

Wednesday, April 7th

Kickoff & Keynotes

Congress kicked off #HouseOfCode 2021 with a memorable session honoring winners of the 2020 Congressional App Challenge and discussing pressing issues like funding for computer science and STEM education and promoting equity in tech.

The kickoff featured remarks from 13 Members of Congress including Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, Rep. Suzan DelBene, Rep. French Hill, Rep. Anna Eshoo, Rep. Bruce Westerman, Rep. Rodney Davis, Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. John Katko, Rep. Jared Huffman, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Young Kim, Rep. Steve Womack, and Rep. Lauren Underwood. The session also included remarks from ACT | The App Association’s Morgan Reed and Lt Col Alex Lamkin of the United States Air Force.

Houlahan: Encouraging Women in STEM

“If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.”

Huffman: STEM and School Funding Needed

Titus: Diverse STEM Students Will Make US Competitive

Thursday, April 8th

Student – Member Q&A

The second day of #HouseOfCode saw students sit down with their Members of Congress to record a series of Student – Member Q&As. These Q&A sessions invited App Challenge winners to interview their Members of Congress about their favorite apps, coding knowledge, and need for additional STEM education resources.

Rep. Colin Allred revealed his first family computer and spoke to how CS education runs in his family.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren spoke to her winner about the importance of woman in STEM.

Rep. Ted Lieu disclosed the app he uses most and discussed his coding skill as a "recovering Computer Science major."

Thursday, April 8th

STEM Inspiration Fair

Our STEM Inspiration Fair partnered with leading universities, non-profits, and program sponsors to encourage App Challenge winners to pursue a career in a diverse set of STEM fields. Each participating organization held a series of micro-meetings with students, allowing for one-on-one interaction between organizations and students and providing a pathway to a future in STEM.

The roster of participating organizations included AI4ALL, Applied Computing Foundation, Boolean Girl, Comcast, GirlsComputingLeague, Indiana University, MAD-learn, MIT App Inventor, Random Hacks of Kindness Jr., Raspberry Pi Foundation, Society for Science, the University of Arizona, the University of Maryland, the University of Minnesota, the University of Utah, and UpBrainery.

stem inspiration fair pic 2

Friday, April 9th

Student Demonstrations

Thousands of students participated in this year’s Congressional App Challenge, and hundreds of winners from districts across the country demonstrated their winning applications to Congress and the general public in two sessions on Friday, April 9th.

These students rose to the occasion during such an unprecedented year, with over 50% of apps aiming to alleviate issues created by COVID-19. Presentations were split into two sessions to accommodate students spread through every time zone in the country, with nearly 100 teams presenting their award-winning apps at each session.

Over 500 people attended these sessions, including Members of Congress, leaders in tech, and mentors from across the globe.

#HouseOfCode is the largest student demo day of its kind, and this year’s event was an enormous success on all fronts despite the difficulties posed by COVID-19. The Congressional App Challenge continues to celebrate the ingenuity and creativity displayed by the largest and most diverse set of student computer scientists anywhere in the world. This groundbreaking initiative is made possible by the support of our sponsoring organizations, and your organization can take part in helping these student coders change Congress and the country in 2021. Sponsorship packages start at $7,500 annually, and new sponsors acquisition is taking place now. If you are interested in supporting this incredible program, please reach out to our team directly.

The 2021 Congressional App Challenge will launch in June.