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Congressional App Challenge

The “Congressional App Challenge” is a competition aimed at encouraging U.S. high school students to learn how to code by creating their own applications. The Challenge is intended to highlight the value of computer science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and encourage students to engage in these fields. By encouraging and recognizing our nation’s young programming talent, Congress hopes to shine a light on the growing importance of these skills.

Established by Members of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, this competition is part of a nationwide event that allows high school students from across the country to compete by creating and exhibiting their software application, or “app,” for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice. It is designed to promote innovation and engagement in STEM education fields.

The 2016 Congressional App Challenge runs from July 18, 2016 through November 2, 2016. It is open to all U.S. high school students in the 17th Congressional District of Texas and other participating districts. Challenge participants are invited, either as individuals or as teams, to create and submit their own software application (“app”) for mobile, tablet, or other computing devices on a platform of their choice. In addition to submitting the app for review, participants are asked to submit a demonstration video explaining their app and what they learned through this competition process.

A panel of local judges will test the submitted apps and select an individual or team as the TX-17 winner. The winner be recognized and have their app showcased in the U.S Capitol along with other winners from participating congressional districts. Apps are judged based on the following criteria:

  • Quality of the idea, including creativity and originality;
  • Implementation of the idea, including user experience and design; and
  • Demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills.

  • How to Enter:
    Step 1: Check Your Eligibility
    To be eligible to participate in the Congressional App Challenge, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Reside or attend school in a district with a participating Representative. To find out which Congressional District you reside of attend school visit
  • Be 13 years of age by or on November 9, 2015.
  • Eligible to attend high school in the district in which you are competing. (If you attend school in a different district than the one in which you reside, you may compete in either district, but you may only submit an app in one district.)
  • If you are competing in a team: at least two of the students in your team must reside or attend high school in the district in which you are competing.
  • Step 2: Register on is the platform that hosts our app submissions. Though you can see all the challenges that are posted on without registering, you must actually register in order to submit your own app. The registration process should only take 2 or 3 minutes. Visit to register. 

    Step 3: Visit the Texas 17 Challenge page
    The Challenge page for Texas 17 can be found at Every Member of Congress has their own unique Challenge page, please make sure to use the Texas 17 Challenge page.

    Step 4: Submit Contact Information
    Please fill out the following form with your name and contact information. The Internet Education Foundation will use this information to make sure that you are eligible and that you are competing in the correct District. It should take no more than 2 minutes.

    Step 5: CREATE!
    Once you are all signed up, you can move ahead with creating your app!

    You must also create a 1-4 minute Demonstration Video, outlining:

  • What your app does;
  • What tools you used to create your app; and
  • How your app works.
  • Please note that your entry may be judged in its entirety based on this video. It is important to demonstrate the scope and quality of your application in this video. The video should be no more than four minutes in length.

    Step 6: Submit Your App and Demonstration Video
    Once your app is done, submit it online. You can submit your app any time from November 9, 2015 until 11:59 PM EST on January 21, 2016. CLICK HERE of visit the Texas -17 district page on to submit your app.

    Step 7: Fill out the Exit Form
    After you have submitted your app, the Internet Education Foundation will email you a final questionnaire. You must fill out this questionnaire for your app to be evaluated; it is the final step required for your submission to be complete.  

    App Requirements:
    Platform: Students are allowed to create any type of app they like, on any platform they choose.

    Previously Created Apps: Students are allowed to submit apps that they created for other programs or projects, as long as that app was created within one calendar year of January 21, 2016.

    Submissions must:

  • Be original;
  • Be solely owned by the Contestant such that no other party has any rights or interest, whether known or unknown.
  • Submissions must not:
  • Be indecent, defamatory, in obvious bad taste, demonstrate a lack of respect for public morals or conduct or adversely affect the reputation of the congressional district; 
  • Be illegal under applicable laws;
  • Depict hatred, defame, threaten a specific community in the society or incite violence; 
  • Contain vulgar language or violence; 
  • Contain pornography, obscenity or sexual activity; or 
  • Violate the Intellectual Property, common law or privacy rights of other parties.
  • Students can only submit ONE app:
  • Students may only submit one app. If a student attends school in a district other than the one in which they reside, they may submit the app in either district, but they may only submit it to one competition. Similarly, a student may submit the app as part of a team OR as an individual, but they may only submit one.
  • If students are participating on a team, at least two (2) of the students must live or attend high school in the District in which they are competing.
  • For more information, please visit the official Congressional App Challenge website at or contact Brandon Simon in my Austin office at (979) 703-4037 or; or Chris Taylor in my Washington, DC office at (202) 225-6105 or 

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