In 2014, Congresswoman Dina Titus hosted the initial annual House App Challenge for high school students in Nevada’s First District. The House App Challenge is the only House academic competition to promote innovation in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
“My staff visited classrooms throughout the district to encourage students to participate,” said Congresswoman Dina Titus. “Workshops were then held where enrolled students received support from the #VegasTech community. The deadline for submission of the app was in April and winners were announced at an awards ceremony in May at the Learning Village. Las Vegas Academy placed first with their app, “Frank’s Flying School,” an interactive game designed to make the physics of aerodynamics appealing to students in a nonthreatening way by simultaneously being fun and educational for the user.”
To continue the momentum of Rep. Titus’ efforts promoting STEM education in the District, the Congresswoman has announced this year’s competition will be open to middle school students.
“We believe targeting students at an earlier age helps build a stronger interest in STEM fields that will carry through the student’s college years,” the Congresswoman said. “Furthermore, there are several middle schools in District 1 that focus specifically on preparation in these topics.”
Students will create an app on the platform of their choice and submit a video demonstrating the app’s idea, implementation, and impact.
“Apps do not need to be fully developed,” the Congresswoman explained. “Apps will be judged by a group of local tech leaders who will take the app’s difficulty into consideration. The winning team will enjoy a private meet and greet with a NASA astronaut and the team’s school will host a visit by the astronaut who will make a special STEM presentation.”
Congresswoman Dina Titus said that last year she and her team saw that creating an app can be intimidating to students, especially if they do not have a background in coding or programming.
“To overcome this, students were partnered with #VegasTech mentors who volunteered their time and talent to help the participants breathe life in to their app ideas,” she said. “These workshops provided students with support and confidence to use STEM skills and produce their app. Teachers got involved; students got engaged; parents got excited; and the tech community got plugged in.”
Last year’s House App Challenge was a success because the #VegasTech community was instrumental in serving as mentors for students and judges of the final products.
“Their expertise was valued and appreciated. Not only does this competition prepare today’s students to be tomorrow’s coders, it also creates a networking opportunity for the #VegasTech community to meet future leaders in the STEM fields,” explained Congresswoman Dina Titus. “If we do not train the next generation with STEM skills, who will be there to receive the torch from today’s #VegasTech community?”
To find out more about the competition and to get involved, visit our website at Titus.house.gov/app-challenge. You can also follow the Congresswoman on Twitter @RepDinaTitus and the challenge itself at #HouseAppChallenge. If you have other questions, email Lisa.Levine[email protected]