Congressional App Challenge

Congressional App Challenge

The Congressional App Challenge is open to all students in Washington's 7th Congressional District. Students entering the competition must submit their app on during the Competition Submission Period between July 26, 2017 and 9:00 am PST on November 1, 2017.

Enter here!

Submissions will be judged 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.

The winner will be featured on, and the winning app will also be on display in the U.S. Capitol, honoring the winners from across the country.

For more information, visit the official Congressional App Challenge website at or contact Yazmin Mehdi at!

What is the Congressional App Challenge?

  • Established by Members of the US House of Representatives in 2015, the Congressional App Challenge is a nationwide event that invites high school students to compete by creating and exhibiting their software application or app for mobile, tablet, or computer devices on a platform of their choice.  The competition is designed to engage the creativity of students and encourage their participation in computer sciences and STEM.

Who can participate?

A: K-12 students are eligible if you live or attend school in Washington's 7th District, and have not graduated from high school.

Q: Am I eligible to participate in the Congressional App Challenge?

A: You are eligible if you live or attend school in a participating district, and have not graduated from high school.

To be eligible to participate in the Congressional App Challenge, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • You must reside or attend school in a district with a participating Representative.
  • You must be eligible to attend school in the district in which you’re 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 compete in one.)

Can student submit in teams?

A: Yes! Students are allowed to submit apps in teams of up to four (4) students, provided that at least two of the teammates are eligible to participate in the district the team competing in. Teams with more than four Members will not be considered eligible.

Q: What if my teammates and I live in different districts?

A: That’s alright, as long as at least 2 of the teammates are eligible to participate in the same district.

For example, if you and your teammate live in different districts, but attend the same high school, your team would be eligible to participate in the district your high school is located in (as long as that Member of Congress has signed up.) If you and your teammate live in different districts and go to school in different districts, you will not be eligible to compete as a team.

Q: What if two of us worked on an app together, but aren’t eligible in the same district. Can we both submit the app to our own districts, as individuals?

A: No.

Any app created may only be submitted to the Congressional App Challenge once. This is to make sure that students can’t just submit an app they created as many times as possible, to get a better chance of winning.

When will the contest occur?

A: Students can register and submit an entry from July 26, 2017 to November 1, 2017. Judging will take place in November.

Q: Do I have to create a specific type of app?

You can create an app about whatever topic you’re passionate about, whether it’s a game or a tool, on whatever platform you like.

Q: What are the requirements for the app?
A: Submissions must:

  • Be original;
  • Be solely owned by Contestant such that no other party has any rights or interest, whether known or unknown;
  • Have been created within the last year (i.e. since November 2, 2016).

Submissions must not:

  • Be indecent, defamatory, in obvious bad taste, demonstrate a lack of respect for public morals or conduct or adversely affects the reputation of 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; or
  • Contain pornography, obscenity or sexual activity.
  • Violate the intellectual property, or privacy rights of other parties.

Q: Can my app be a web app, or does it have to be a mobile app?
A: You can create any type of app, mobile, web, desktop or anything else.

The majority of students have chosen to create mobile apps in the past, but you are free to use whatever platform you like. It won’t have any impact on the judging process.

Q: I created an app for a different project or program. Can I submit that app to the competition?
A: Absolutely.

Students are allowed to submit apps that they created for other programs or projects, as long as it meets the other eligibility requirements listed above.

Q: Do I have to submit a fully developed app, or can I just submit an idea for an app?
A: This is a coding competition, so your app should have some level of functionality.

Q: How many apps can I submit?
A: One.

Q: How will our apps be judged?
A: Your apps will be judged based on quality of the idea; implementation of the idea; and demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills.

  • Quality of the idea (including creativity and originality)
  • Implementation of the idea (including user experience and design);
  • Demonstrated excellence of coding and programming skills.

Q: Who will judge our apps?
A: The diverse list of judges chosen for the 7th District App Challenge hail from some of the Seattle area’s top tech companies and non-profits.

Melinda Fox is the co-founder and CEO of Tanji Mobi. She is a former fundraising executive for The Humane Society of the United States and vice president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. She later joined, the world’s fastest-growing social action platform.

Dave Barnett has worked at Microsoft for 18 years across different careers. In between his two careers at Microsoft, he spent nine years at the nonprofit Young Life working with high school students. In his current role at Microsoft, he is a program manager on the Microsoft Philanthropies team.

Sunny Upendra is a software engineer at Microsoft and has been part of the software industry for last six years working for companies such as Amazon, Oracle and SAP. Upendra has a master’s degree in computer science from Arizona State University.

Jacquelyn Krones is a principal design researcher for ethics in business AI at Microsoft. Krones’ research spans cognitive biases, tokenism, sense-making, and consumer attitudes and behaviors. Her work has informed experiences in retail, banking, insurance, search and health care.

​​José Manuel Vasquez is the director of leadership development and programs for the Latino Community Fund of Washington. He is passionate about connecting diverse communities to resources and helping build the capacity of future leaders through his work. He currently serves as chair of the City of Seattle’s Community Technology Advisory Board, a member of the City of Seattle’s Environmental Justice Committee, a member of Rainier Valley Radio Community Advisory Board, and a member of South Park Area Redevelopment Committee.

Steven Maheshwary is a board member of the Community Technology Advisory Board in Seattle and currently works as a marketing manager at Amazon. He is an alumnus from Harvard University, with a degree in sociology and economics. Over the last few years, Maheshwary has worked across startups and Fortune 100 companies in business development, finance, brand strategy and marketing roles. Most recently, he returned from a Fulbright Scholarship where he introduced an entrepreneurship curriculum to secondary students in Borneo, Malaysia.

Greg Bulmash is a technical evangelist for login with Amazon and he runs Seattle CoderDojo, a volunteer group where local tech professionals help children learn computer programming. He has spoken at OSCON, CascadiaJS, DevNexus, Developer Week, CodeMotion Amsterdam, and other meetups and conferences about web development, programming and teaching kids how to code. He is the former senior editor of the Internet Movie Database (

Trish Millines Dziko co-founded the Technology Access Foundation (TAF) in 1996 after spending 15 years as a developer, designer and manager in the high tech industry. A native of New Jersey, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1979 at a time when few people of color and few women were entering the field. Dziko has led the growth of TAF into a statewide leader in STEM education, operating the TAF Academy and partnering with public schools. In addition to her work at TAF, Dziko serves on the boards of several organizations that focus on children and education.

Hammad Rajjoub works as a global black belt focusing on enterprise mobility and security (part of Modern Workplace) at Microsoft. He is a published author and his latest book, “Windows Server AppFabric Cookbook,” is published by Packt UK. His areas of interest include cloud computing; enterprise mobility and security; enterprise architecture; and quantum computation. He is frequently invited to speak at technology and industry conferences.

David Harris is the startup advocate for the City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development, where he supports tech startups through the StartupSeattle program. He also helps to lead the White House TechHire initiative for the Seattle region, which aims to connect women, Blacks, Latinos, and returning citizens with training and jobs in the tech industry. Previously, Harris helped create Hack the Central District, or Hack the CD, an annual event that takes place in Seattle and showcases the latest in design, entrepreneurship and technology from people of African descent around the world.

Steve Bishop is the lead instructor for the Seattle campus of Coder Camps, and he teaches the Full .NET Web Development Stack to people of all backgrounds. His YouTube channel, ProgrammingMadeEZ, offers free tutorials and has over 4 million views.

What if I still have some questions that aren’t on this list of FAQs? Contact with any further questions on the app competition.