BOSTON (WHDH) - U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern has named Anne Tie, Amy Chen, and Nihitha Reddy of Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science as the winners of the 2023 Congressional App Challenge in Massachusetts’s Second District.

When asked what inspired the creation of LaunchGuide, the students said, “The inspiration of our app comes from our participation as members of district 33A of the Lions Club, specifically in the ‘Walkfit’ program which was created by visually impaired attorney Liz Myska. The goal of the program is to increase awareness surrounding visually impaired pedestrians (VIPs) and, as sighted guides, we were able to hear about their experiences. Because of this, we realized the lack of accessibility in pedestrian signals. When VIPs are crossing intersections, the pedestrian crosswalk signals fail to provide sufficient non-visual information for crossing decisions by VIPs.”

This year’s Challenge saw an unprecedented level of participation, with 374 Members of the House of Representatives hosting competitions, surpassing the previous record of 340. A remarkable 11,334 students from across the United States competed in this year’s Challenge, marking an impressive increase of nearly 1,000 participants compared to the previous record set in 2019. The enthusiasm and creativity these students display is a testament to the growing interest in technology and signal a bright future for American innovation. The surge of ingenuity continued with a whopping 3,645 original applications flooding in, nearly a thousand more than the previous year’s high. This remarkable growth showcases the exceptional talent and innovation within our nation’s youth.

The Congressional App Challenge is an official initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where Members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. This resounding show of bipartisan support emphasizes the critical importance of STEM education in today’s rapidly evolving world. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival.

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