Meet The New Director Leading The Congressional App Challenge
The CAC’s new Director is a skilled coder who is passionate about increasing the reach of computer science and STEM among youth
WASHINGTON, DC – Rachel Décoste, an accomplished Software Engineer and STEM advocate, will spearhead the Congressional App Challenge (CAC) as it prepares its 3rd annual Challenge on July 26, 2017. Décoste joins the Internet Education Foundation, the CAC’s official coordinator, as Director of the project. The CAC is a congressional initiative to encourage student engagement in coding and computer science through app contests hosted by Members of Congress in their districts.
“The Congressional App Challenge is the largest series of student coding competitions in the world,” said Tim Lordan, Executive Director of the Internet Education Foundation. “Rachel is an accomplished computer scientist and an inspirational leader. We expect her to push the contest to new heights.”
Ms. Décoste is an autodidactic coder, having taught herself computer programming using a library book. She started with a small app simulating a math quiz for her little sister. A decade later, Ms. Décoste was coding air traffic control systems for the Federal Aviation Agency, among others. Ms. Décoste’s trajectory inspires young people – including women, minorities and those who live in the heartland – to rise to the Challenge.
“I’m excited to join a team of people who are passionate about increasing STEM among America’s youth and connecting the U.S. Congress with their local tech communities,” said Ms. Décoste. “Learning to code in as a teenager opened the door to a fantastic career for me. I hope the Congressional App Challenge will be a catalyst for the next generation of tech leaders.”
In the first 2 years of the program yielded 239 challenges across 33 states. Over 1,150 apps were created by nearly 4,000 students, and participant demographics surpassed all industry diversity metrics, with young women representing 30% of all competitors. This year, the CAC initiative aims to reach even more constituents.
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