The Congressional App Challenge is a competition that allows middle and high school students across the country to code a phone application that helps to solve a current social issue. After creating the app, students submit it to their congressional district where it undergoes review by the congressperson’s representatives.
Out of the thousands of applications submitted, Madeline W. ‘24 was chosen as the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge in New York’s 12th District. Madeline coded an app called Haven, intended to be a “safe haven” where women can find information surrounding bodily rights, menstruation information, abortion/reproductive rights, body image, and more.
Madeline’s interest in coding began in Grade 8 after taking a computer science class at Sacred Heart. After attending a coding camp during the summer of 2022, Madeline heard about the Congressional App Challenge and immediately knew it was an opportunity she wanted to pursue.
“I came up with the app idea after noticing a public bathroom I was in had no period products available,” she said. “My mom and I were discussing this and realized access to period products is a problem women face on a regular basis.”
In April, Madeline traveled to Washington, D.C. where she attended the Congressional App Challenge awards ceremony, known as the House of Code. Here, she presented her app to members of Congress, networked with the sponsors of the challenge, and received tours of both Congress and the Library of Congress. Madeline even had the opportunity to meet with Representative Jerry Nadler and his aides with whom she discussed her app and how she plans to work with women’s organizations to expand it in the future.
When asked what advice she has for other students who may be interested in participating in the challenge, Madeline shared, “If you notice something you feel like you can change, you should lean into it. The process will be more enjoyable and it will shine through.”
To learn more about the Congressional App Challenge, you can view their website here.