#HouseOfCode 2018: When the House of Representatives turns into the House of Code – Overview

Group Photo of Congressional App Challenge winners on steps of US Capitol
On Thursday and Friday, April 12-13, the Internet Education Foundation was proud to host two days of programming as part of #HouseOfCode, a celebration of the 2017 Congressional App Challenge winners.

On Thursday, April 12, the #HouseOfCode events kicked off with a welcome session hosted by the American Libraries Association. The speakers were:

  • Former Congressional Staffer Megan Ortegon offered insights on the inner workings of Congress. Now the Public Policy Manager at American Libraries Association, Ms. Ortegon also reminded patrons of the resource that libraries can be to the development of future tech leaders of the nation.
  • Rachel Décoste, Congressional App Challenge Director and former Software Engineer talked about the challenges and opportunities in the tech sector, and offered industry tips and tricks.

On the afternoon of April 12th, over 200 Congressional App Challenge winners congregated in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill (generously sponsored by AWS). #HouseOfCode featured students from 130 Congressional Districts and 38 states. Over fifty Members of Congress attended, in support of their students and the Congressional App Challenge.

Various supporters of computer science education attended #HouseOfCode. The speakers included:

  • Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), Co-Chair of the inaugural CAC, and the Internet Caucus
  • Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18), Co-Chair of the inaugural CAC, and the Congressional Internet Caucus, the House Medical Technology Caucus
  • Rep. Tim Ryan (OH-13), 2017 CAC Co-Chair
  • Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), 2017 CAC Co-Chair
  • Ken Eisner, Senior Manager, Worldwide Education Programs and Global Lead, AWS Educate at Amazon Web Services
  • Mary Snapp, Corporate Vice President and Lead for Microsoft Philanthropies
  • Melissa Medina, Congressional Director, Congressional App Challenge
  • Rachel Décoste, Executive Director, Congressional App Challenge

The following day, CAC winners attended “Computer Science Education Exploration,” a program sponsored by Microsoft, where students were exposed to the following Microsoft opportunities:

  • Get Involved with Microsoft: Microsoft opportunities for your skill development.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Earth: How Microsoft cloud is helping sustain the earth and future jobs.
  • Microsoft and Cybersecurity: How Microsoft leads in cybersecurity and future jobs.

A second program further enhanced the student experience, with sessions on the following themes:

  • Cybersecurity Training: A former U.S. Marine pivots to the cybersecurity field.
  • US Patent & Trademark Office: Intellectual property, patents and trademarks.

About the Congressional App Challenge

The CAC is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, managed by the Internet Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The first three years of the program yielded 426 challenges across 42 states. Over 2,400 apps were created by over 8,800 students, and participant demographics surpassed the tech industry’s best gender, racial and geographic diversity metrics.

The 2017 Congressional App Challenge is possible thanks to the generous support of our sponsors: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Democracy Fund, Verizon Foundation, Capital One, the United Parcel Service,Software.org: the BSA Foundation, CA Technologies, Cognizant and the Copyright Alliance. The Challenge also owes gratitude to Representatives Bob Goodlatte and Anna G. Eshoo, co-chairs of the Congressional Internet Caucus, who requested and supported the creation of the CAC. Additionally, thank you to Representatives Illeana Ros-Lehtinen and Tim Ryan for serving as 2017 App Challenge Co-chairs.