Congress Names Student App Winners

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Four Mineola High School students were recently selected as the winning team in the 2016 Congressional App Challenge. Announced by members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the challenge promotes the importance of coding and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. More than 2,000 students participated in the national competition, which yielded more than 650 original student-created apps.

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Malcolm Hylton, Vincent Rodrigues, Bryan Guda and Joseph Mueller

Mineola’s winning team consists of Bryan Guda, Malcolm Hylton, Joseph Mueller and Vincent Rodrigues. They developed an app called Cia Chow, which connects people who are in need of dog sitting services with someone who can take care of the dog.

“We had a class activity where we thought about every day problems,” Hylton said. “We thought about how people who don’t have dogs can be lonely, and then people who do have dogs, when they go away their dogs are lonely.”

The app asks users to create a profile and fill out a questionnaire and then makes recommended pairings based on location for services. The team worked on their project as part of the school’s partnership with the Queensborough College Computer Technology Program. The whole process took them about a month to complete.

“It was challenging, we didn’t know much about coding before,” said Mueller, the app’s coder and scriptwriter. “We learned a lot of coding skills and how to work together as a team to achieve a common goal.”

Winners from across the country will have the opportunity to showcase their apps to members of Congress and the technology community at #HouseOfCode, a Washington D.C.-based reception to be held in April. The Congressional App Challenge, celebrating its second year, is coordinated by the Congressional Internet Caucus and by the Internet Education Foundation, the nongovernmental sponsor of the project.

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