Dogtown Media CEO Helps Judge Representative Ted Lieu’s 2020 Congressional App Challenge for California’s 33rd District!

November 24, 2020 - 5 minutes read

mobile app development

By 2030, the United States is expected to have a tech talent shortage. This year alone, 4.3 million jobs in America’s technology sector are projected to go unfilled — that equates to lost revenue of $162 billion. Luckily, Ted Lieu, California’s 33rd Congressional District Representative, has a solution for the state: Inspire our youth to innovate with the Congressional App Challenge.

Held last Thursday, the 2020 Congressional App Challenge featured sixteen students from ten high schools across Los Angeles County. Altogether, they submitted eleven amazing mobile app concepts. And Congressman Lieu invited Marc Fischer, Dogtown Media’s Co-Founder and CEO, to participate as a judge in the competition!

About the Congressional App Challenge

The United States House of Representatives established the Congressional App Challenge in 2014 to “connect today’s Congress with tomorrow’s coders.” The event encourages students from all corners of the country to get more hands-on with their STEM education by creating and submitting mobile app concepts. The winner receives national recognition and also has their work featured in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Building!

For Congressman Ted Lieu, the event is a special occasion that connects him back to his own education: “As one of just four computer science majors in Congress, I believe it is essential to encourage and nurture a generation of technology-savvy students who will continue to innovate our economy and advance our technological edge. The App Challenge provides young students throughout my district an opportunity to pursue their creative and technical talents. I encourage all eligible students to participate.”

mobile app development

Since its first year, the Congressional App Challenge has grown exponentially. In 2019, 10,211 students submitted mobile apps. To put this number in perspective, that’s a 373% increase from 2016! This event also now outpaces Silicon valley in terms of diversity: Compared to America’s tech innovation hub, participants are five times more likely to identify as latinx, four times more likely to identify as black, and two times more likely to identify as female.

On the other side of the equation, the Congressional App Challenge is also increasing STEM’s visibility in politics. Since 2016, 54% more Congress members have become involved in the competition and the mentions of STEM and computer science in congress have grown by over 2000%.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s reception was completely remote. Dr. William Goodin, Industry Relations Coordinator at UCLA’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and Mr. Howard Stahl, Santa Monica College’s Department Chair for Computer Science & Information Systems, judged this year’s submissions alongside Marc.

And the Winners Are…

Dylan and Winston Iskandar of Mira Costa High School and Chadwick School were selected as this year’s winners! Inspired by the ‘new normal’ we all find ourselves in during the COVID-19 pandemic, the duo developed a mobile app called “GroceryBuddies” that connects volunteers with at-risk individuals so they can help them run errands and get groceries. You can learn more about it in the video below:

Jake and Kate North of Stanford Online High School came in second place with their mobile app concept, “Ideos.” “MyChemistry,” a pocket-reference tool for chemistry information that was developed by Rachel Fox of Agoura High School, came in third place:

And “MaskCheck,” an app created by Jayden Bulexa of Beverly Hills High School that helps to educate people about and enforce mask-wearing, received an honorable mention:

Each of these entries was incredibly innovative. “As a recovering Computer Science major, I am inspired by all these students who have committed themselves to creating these innovative apps,” Congressman Lieu said.

Marc was also astounded by the level of creativity and quality that these young mobile app developers brought to the table: “It’s an exciting honor to witness the next generation of innovators harness the potential of STEM to improve our lives. I thank Congressman Lieu for the opportunity to help inspire, educate, and foster a passion for technology in our youth.”

It’s absolutely amazing that there’s so much young tech talent in the Los Angeles County area alone! We can’t wait to see what 2021’s participants have to offer.

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