Hundreds of App Challengers Wow Congress at #HouseOfCode 2023
On April 17-18, 2023, Congress hosted #HouseOfCode, a celebration of all things STEM in the U.S. Capitol for winners of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge. Bringing together some of the brightest young minds in technology and STEM, the event welcomed over 300 award-winning coders from 46 states to hear from lawmakers, learn about a future in computer science, and demonstrate their winning apps for Congress. The star-studded event was attended by over 750 STEM supporters and headlined by Members of Congress, officials from the Biden Administration, and partners of the Congressional App Challenge.
Leading lawmakers and friends of the program spoke directly to students during a special keynote address session, congratulating the students on their hard work, encouraging them to pursue a future in technology, and discussing the steps they’re taking to help ensure the future of STEM education in the United States.
Speakers at the keynote addresses included:
- Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-36)
- Rep. Young Kim (CA-40)
- Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25)
- Rep. Susie Lee (NV-04)
- Rep. Bill Foster (IL-11)
- Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04)
- Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
- Alla Seiffert (AWS)
- Hansel Lynn (theCoderSchool)
- Danny Rojas (All Star Code)
- Dominic Beamer (White House OSTP)
- Maya Israni (U.S. Digital Service)
- Vaishali Udupa (USPTO)
- Joseph Alessi (Congressional App Challenge)
The event featured a STEM Inspiration Fair and alumni-led panel sessions. The STEM Inspiration Fair provided the opportunity to meet with sponsors, partners, and community organizations that can help provide a pathway to a career in STEM. Organizations such as Amazon, Rise, MIT App Inventor, theCoderSchool, and the USPTO were in attendance for this unstructured college fair-style event.
The panel sessions, led by the Congressional App Challenge’s Alumni Advisory Board and featuring experts from across the industry, covered topics like workforce development, cybersecurity, and the emergence of generative AI. In between panels, a workshop session was hosted by Rise, an App Challenge partner providing young leaders with mentorship, networking, and access to career development opportunities. Participants worked in small groups to craft their own statement of purpose, which could be used as a head start for this year’s Rise Challenge.
#HouseOfCode culminated in the Student Demonstrations, with over 300 Congressional App Challenge winners gathering in the Capitol Visitor Center to showcase their winning app demos. #HouseOfCode featured students from 180 Congressional Districts and over 45 states and territories. Dozens of Members of Congress attended in support of their students and the Congressional App Challenge. Students showed an incredible amount of ingenuity and innovation as they demonstrated apps ranging from combating human trafficking in indigenous communities, to games showcasing the delicate balance of ecological systems throughout the country.
Overall, the Congressional App Challenge’s #HouseOfCode event showcased the immense talent and creativity of young students in technology fields from every corner of the country. It provided an opportunity for participants to meet with industry experts and community organizations that can help pave a pathway to a career in STEM – but also provided a perspective to Congress about what is already possible in their districts.
The 2023 Congressional App Challenge launches this June – and students can pre-register for the competition now.