SARASOTA, Fla – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced today the winners of the 2019 Congressional App Challenge, an annual competition that engages students in coding and computer science.
Jack Crespo, Joseph Vito and Nihal Reddy of Newsome High School in Lithia were the first-place winners of the competition, which is designed to promote student creativity and encourage their participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education fields.
“STEM education gives students the knowledge they need to succeed and helps the U.S. compete in a global economy,” said Buchanan. “I am impressed by the creative and innovative apps that were developed and submitted by students from my district. The future is in good hands with these students.”
The Congressional App Challenge is open to all middle and high school students in Florida’s 16th District. Participants in the contest submitted videos of their app demonstrations, which were judged by an independent panel of educators and entrepreneurs.
The winning entry, “BudgetR” promotes financial responsibility among teenagers by allowing them to track their daily expenses through productive graphs and easily scan receipts. It will be featured on CongressionalAppChallenge.us, and is eligible to be on display in the U.S. Capitol with other winners from across the country.
Katie Murphy of Newsome High School in Lithia came in second for her entry, “Mental Math Challenge,” which helps students improve mental math skills.
Lenox Huh of IMG Academy in Bradenton came in third for his entry, “House of Gainz,” which helps athletes and other students meet their personal health goals with articles, op-eds, recipe suggestions and fitness guides.
The entries were judged by David Cotrone of Vine Strategies, Stan Shultz and Sara Hand of Spark Growth, Marilyn Carrasquillo of Hillsborough Community College and Sunita Ludwig of USF Sarasota-Manatee.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts overall employment in the economy to grow by 7.4 percent between 2016 and 2026, while jobs in STEM fields are expected to grow by 10.8 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, college-educated STEM job holders earn between 29 percent and 39 percent more per hour than non-STEM employees with equivalent educational attainment.