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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 2017 Congressional App Challenge runs from July 26, 2017 through November 1, 2017. Students may begin working on their apps as soon as they like, but the “Competition Submission Period” will start at 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time (“EDT”), July 26, 2017. 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. and be invited to a reception in Washington, D.C. 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
  • There is no age minimum to compete, but those who have graduated from high school are not eligible for the competition. 
  • 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 : CREATE!
    Once you are all signed up, you can move ahead with creating your app!

    Demonstration Video (1-3 min)

    Your video should be no more than 3 minutes, and should do the following:

    • Explain the purpose of your app.
    • Explain who your intended audience is.
    • Mention what tools and languages you used to create your app.
    • Show how your app would be used.

    Once you’ve created your video, upload it to youtube, vimeo, or any other video-hosting site. Make sure the video is set to public. If it’s not set to public, the judges won’t be able to see it.

    Note: videos that go over 3 minutes won’t be disqualified, but the judges may penalize you at their own discretion.

    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 4: Submit Your App and Demonstration Video
    Once your app is done, submit it online. You can submit your app any time from July 26, 2017 until 11:59 PM EST November 1, 2017 at You will need your Submission ID Number, the name of your Member of Congress, the link to your video, and your answers to the questions.

    Step 5: Fill out the Exit Form
    After you submit your work, you will be given a link to the Exit Questionnaire on the same page. You must complete the Exit Questionnaire. We will collect your contact information and survey answers separately, so your responses will be completely anonymous, but we will be able to identify who has or has not completed the survey. Teams: ALL Members of your team must complete the Exit Questionnaire individually. Teammates can use the same link, but must complete the form individually. 

    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 November 2, 2017.

    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
  • A team may be comprised of up to 4 students.

  • For more information, please visit the official Congressional App Challenge website at or contact Brandon Simon in my Austin office at (512) 373-3378 or; or Alex Kuehler in my Washington, DC office at (202) 225-6105 or 

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