The 2022 Congressional App Challenge smashed previous participation records, as it drew to a close on November 1st, 2022. All told, 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition – creating 2,707 fully-functioning apps for 335 Members of Congress across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia.
The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival.
This year’s competition set the record for most student registrations, most apps submitted, most apps per district submitted, and most districts receiving over 20 apps. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent.
“This year we saw a huge increase in energy and enthusiasm from students, parents, and educators. We’re ecstatic,” said Joe Alessi, Program Director of the Congressional App Challenge. “By participating, each Member opens an amazing opportunity for their young constituents to aspire to STEM careers,” said Alessi.
Now in its eighth year, the Congressional App Challenge is the largest student computer science competition in the world. The Members of Congress who participated (335 of them in all) represent over 75% of all Americans. providing inspiration to students in all corners of the nation. Members of Congress will announce their district winners between November 15th and December 31st, 2022.
The expanded reach can be credited largely to an infusion of new communities participating in the Congressional App Challenge. “Providing every student with an opportunity to compete in the Challenge is one of our top priorities,” said Collin Allen, Congressional Operations Coordinator at the Congressional App Challenge. In 2022, 36 Members of Congress hosted App Challenges for the first time during the 117th Congress. “There is no better advocate for STEM education than a young constituent. The enthusiasm of students in districts across the country persuaded dozens of new Members of Congress to get involved in the challenge this year,” said Allen.
In an effort to reduce educational inequalities and disparities in computer science, our team focused their energies this year on targeted outreach to 50 key communities around the country. Within these areas, we worked on cultivating contacts to develop a network of over 1,000 teachers, educators, and individuals passionate about computer science to aid students in their journey into the STEM field. By providing access to resources and a team of mentors in these communities, we aim to see a spike in student engagement where it is most desperately needed.
Our team attempted to reduce educational inequalities and disparities in computer science by targeting 50 key communities around the country. Within these areas we cultivated a network of over 1,000 teachers, educators, and individuals passionate about student computer science. By providing access to resources and a team of mentors in these communities, we expect to see spikes in student engagement there.
The Alumni Advisory Board, made up of former App Challengers now enrolled in college, provided another boost to student recruitment and retention through their tireless work in 2022. “The App Challenge helped inspire me to use technology to solve real-world problems in my community, and the Alumni Advisory Board is devoted to ensuring every student in the country has that opportunity,” said Isabella Hochschild, Alumni Advisory Board member and Sophomore at Dartmouth University. The eleven-person Alumni Advisory Board focused on the areas where former participants could have the most impact – enhancing the applicant experience, encouraging grassroots promotion through service hours, and engaging more deeply with strategic partners on the national and local level.
In the eight years of the Congressional App Challenge, the program has yielded 2,127 distinct App Challenges across all 50 states. The non-profit Internet Education Foundation provides the Congressional App Challenge with staffing and support. Thousands of functional apps have been created by over 50,000 students, and participant demographics surpass all industry diversity metrics.