Updated:
Original:

There's a nationwide challenge to create a new app – and get yourself a D.C. shout-out

It's to try to get high school students more involved in coding.

The United States had 561,000 graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates last year.

That's just a hair above what Russia turned out, and literally millions behind both India (2.6 million) and China (4.7 million).

To try to get more U.S. kids thinking creatively about tech, congresspeople from around the country are holding a challenge for high schoolers: code an awesome app.

Three districts in Minnesota are taking part in the competition, called the Congressional App Challenge

All are repped by Republicans: CD2 (Jason Lewis), CD3 (Erik Paulsen) and CD6 (Tom Emmer).

How to take part

Anyone living in those three districts in high school (or younger is fine too) can jump in. You go to the competition website, sign up, and then submit your app once it's completed. (You can do it as an individual or a small team.)

Part of it is uploading a video that explains what your app does, plus answering specific questions about your goals with the app, and problems you ran into trying to code it.

You have from July 26 through Nov. 1 to submit an app. 

Local judges will evaluate them and pick winners, based on how good the idea is, how well it's executed, and the coding and programming skills shown. Winners get some congressional recognition, with their apps displayed in the U.S. Capitol and online.

And they get invited to Capitol Hill as part of the House of Code event, where big tech companies speak (last year execs from Microsoft, Amazon and Spotify took part, Roll Call says.)

Last year's winners from Minnesota

Last year, Paulsen's district was the only one in Minnesota to take part. The winners from CD3 were Maha, Madeeha, and Mia Syed, who created a chatbot app for restaurants. (Watch their submission video here.)

It was a chatbot that integrated with Facebook chat. As a customer, you could go to the restaurant's Facebook page and send them messages to get automated replies – see the menus, get directions and parking info, and make reservations.

"Behind every latest new app or technological breakthrough, there is a team of highly-skilled, creative workers and the one thing they all have in common is an education and background in STEM," Paulsen said in a release about the 2017 challenge, adding he's "excited" to see what students come up with.

The challenge is now in its third year, and was started by a Democrat and Republican. There are now 162 congressional districts taking part, and the website says it's reached nearly 4,000 students so far – 30 percent of which were young women, an underrepresented group in the tech space.

Said Emmer: "Our nation is currently facing a major skills gap crisis, and the technology sector has been hit hard, making this challenge even more important. If our nation is to remain relevant, successful, and globally competitive, we must encourage the generation of tomorrow to take an interest in some of these important fields."

Next Up

moose minnesota usfws - flickr

MN homeowner mistakes large tent for dead moose

They spotted two people on a security camera dragging the "moose" across a driveway.

Flickr - minneapolis police officer close-up belt camera - Tony Webster

What happens if Mpls. public safety question passes? City memo provides answers

The memo was sent to the mayor and council members Tuesday morning.

Wild

COVID-19 hits Minnesota Wild coaching staff

The Wild will be shorthanded for Tuesday night's game in Vancouver.

Anthony Edwards

Ant takes alpha role after bad loss: 'We need to lock the f*** in'

The Timberwolves' rising star was not happy after Monday's loss to the Pelicans.

parker eisinger

Lakeville football player diagnosed with cancer week before playoffs

The tenth-grader was diagnosed with a form of cancer most commonly found in people aged 65 and older.

University of Minnesota peeping tom suspect

Someone keeps trying to film showering women at U of M

The university has received three reports in the past two weeks.

john Fluevog shoes 1

John Fluevog Shoes closes its Uptown Minneapolis store

The brand could return to the Twin Cities one day.

sidecar drink

Sidecar — Town Hall's new cocktail lounge — is officially open in Minneapolis

It's the fifth Town Hall location, but the first to focus on cocktails.

Screen Shot 2019-07-18 at 9.10.30 AM

Here's where DFLers stand on Minneapolis' public safety ballot question

The question would create a Department of Public Safety and remove some requirements.

Arthur Kollie

Man pleads guilty to brutal murder of 14-year-old girl in Fargo

The 14-year-old girl was the victim of a random attack outside a Fargo strip mall.

Minneapolis Mayoral Candidates 2021 - jacob frey sheila nezhad kate knuth

Here's who has endorsed the frontrunners for Minneapolis mayor

Politicians and community groups are voicing their opinions.

Related

New proposal: Internet companies should pay you if they use or sell your data

It's your data that's valuable – should you get compensated for it?

Big internet names: We like net neutrality protections, don't get rid of them

Google, Netflix, Amazon, Uber, Snapchat, Reddit – and more – are some of the companies publicly talking about the rules.

Airline execs get called to D.C. to talk about their bad customer service

Minnesota Reps. Jason Lewis and Rick Nolan got to ask some of the questions.

Google rolled out a streamlined new way to donate to nonprofits and causes

But there are a few things you should keep in mind before trying it.

5 Minnesota reps support effort in U.S. House to restore net neutrality

Some members of the U.S. House are trying to undo the FCC's open internet rollback.

From the vodka and gelato business, to challenging Rep. Paulsen in 2018

He was CEO of Phillips Distilling, and helped build the Talenti gelato company.