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Local congressmen looking for tech-minded students in App Challenge

High schoolers nationwide asked to create app for chance to join Capitol display

The San Ramon Valley's congressmen are taking part in the second annual Congressional App Challenge, urging high school students in their districts to develop and display their own software applications.

Running through Jan. 15, the nationwide competition allows high schoolers in participating congressional districts to vie for a chance to have their apps featured in a showing in Washington, D.C. Winners will be selected by panels of local judges, and then honored by the local congress member.

In all, 175 congressional members have signed up to have their districts participate, including local U.S. Reps. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) and Eric Swalwell (D-Dublin).

"This competition provides a unique opportunity to high school students to showcase their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. I invite students from across California's 11th Congressional District to join their peers across the nation in an opportunity to display their talents in the U.S. Capitol Building," said DeSaulnier, whose district includes the northern San Ramon Valley.

Created by House of Representatives members in 2013, the competition asks high school students to create and exhibit original apps for mobile, tablet or computer devices on a platform of their choice.

By encouraging and honoring America's young programming talent, Congress hopes to shine a light on the growing importance of STEM skills, according to DeSaulnier.

The competition also focuses on inclusivity and making the contest as accessible as possible to people from all backgrounds, recognizing racial, gender and other disparities in the tech industry, according to organizers.

The Internet Education Foundation is the operational "sponsor" of the challenge. Winners will be announced Feb. 22.

For more information, visit the Congressional App Challenge website.

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