Debugged S3 E7: Tech-Business Insights from Congressional App Challenge Alumni

Hello! Welcome back to Debugged, the Congressional App Challenge’s alumni-led podcast that connects the country’s youth with technology by debugging the intricate world of computer science.

In this special episode, guest host Suhaani Sodhi chats with two Congressional App Challenge alumni whose projects and careers highlight the intersection of business and technology. Panelists include Medha Gupta, a full-time Adobe employee and 2017 winner of the Congressional App Challenge, and Jinghao Li, a third place winner of the 2023 Congressional App Challenge.

Beginning with where both panelists’ interest in technology and business began, they shared their insight into how the fields blend together. Specifically, Medha shared learning exercises that helped her view an app as a potential business, and Jinghao shared insights about how technological breakthroughs can serve as the backbone to a business idea.

Shifting from theoretical businesses to actual products, they discuss the events that drive a personal project to revealing the value it can provide to other people. Medha discusses how sometimes, businesses can be born just by looking for unsolved problems in the everyday lives of ordinary people—like in the story of DoorDash. She also touches on the risks of iterating for too long, because in her experience, the loudest in the field always makes the deals.

Jinghao adds on with a personal story about selling games for Ti-84 calculators, and the importance of becoming the face of a technology itself. “If it doesn’t get seen by other people, it doesn’t exist. Only you know it, and the moment you forget about it, it’s gone forever until the next person that thinks about it, but never tells anybody.”

For high schoolers with an idea they want to get out into the world, the panelists discuss the various mediums you can take advantage of. Medha and Jinghao discuss how to choose your target audience wisely, so that you’re being loud, but also in the right places. They also both echo the notion that your network is an indispensable tool in getting your idea out into the world. For example, computer science teachers likely have friends in the field.

Challenges like the Congressional App Challenge and other hackathons also played a huge role in both of their entries into the field of computer science. They shared useful resources for finding and participating in these challenges, and the benefits of so many of them being online: you can participate entirely on your own schedule.

Later in the episode, they discuss real-world problems they’ve personally solved through computer science. Jinghao’s Congressional App Challenge simplified complicated encryption technologies into a simple UI—no need for dozens of pages of documentation. Medha shared how she used Python to do busy work assignments that needed to be done for her job in a fraction of the time it would take to do manually.

Finally, they discuss how they narrowed down their many different passions to one specific field to major in during college. Medha specifically shared how she chose the major that she believed would provide the most value in the long run, and how she utilized club opportunities to explore her other passions.

Tune in to the newest episode of Debugged to hear Medha Gupta and Jinghao Li’s fascinating careers, and insights into the intersection of business and technology!

More about Debugged

Founded in 2021 by the Congressional App Challenge’s Alumni Advisory Board, Debugged is a unique podcast experience that seeks to redefine STEM education, shine a light on diverse voices, and further the narrative around a myriad of computer science topics. By highlighting trends in the industry, breaking down complicated concepts, and interviewing high profile guests, listeners are given the opportunity to delve into the world of technology in an analytical yet engaging way.

Debugged is free to stream on your favorite platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and more via! To be the first to know about new episodes, and to learn more about the team of eleven alumni behind every one, follow @cacdebugged on Instagram and X. Thank you so much for your viewership; we hope you enjoy the episode!