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Congressman Swalwell Brings Congressional App Challenge to Dublin High School

January 10, 2016

DSC04225Dublin High School is home to two STEM events this weekend – a VEX Robotics Competition (which we’ll be writing about separately) and an app hackathon for the second annual Congressional App Challenge. Participating students have an opportunity to participate in coding workshops and work in teams to develop an app. The hackathon is being held in coordination with knodemy, a mentor-based coding academy located in Livermore. The winning CA-15 app will be selected at the conclusion of the hackathon (later today) by a panel of judges and displayed in the United States Capitol and on the House of Representatives website.

We caught up with Congressman Eric Swalwell, who is hosting the event: Tell me a bit about this event and what you’re trying to accomplish.



Congressman Eric Swalwell

Congressman Eric Swalwell: “We’re here for the second annual Congressional App Challenge, which is in the spirit of the Congressional Art Competition which we also hold every year. This event reflects the changing innovation economy which is going to need bright, young, talented minds, and Congress has a role to play. We’ve invited everyone in the District to come out and work in a collaborative environment over 48 hours, with experts in technology, and hopefully walk away with something that makes life easier, healthier or a little more fun.” Why is STEM important to the East Bay?

Congressman Swalwell: “The East Bay is charting the innovation economy. When you look at where the venture capital is originating and ending up it’s in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the East Bay still has room for growth. Over the next 10-15 years the young engineers and scientists that are participating in this event today are going to be the ones that are leading the innovation economy tomorrow.” Finally, what’s it like being back on the Dublin High School campus given everything that has changed since you went here?

Congressman Swalwell: “This is not my Dublin High! The opportunities that Dublin High School students have seem infinite today. When I was here you never would have thought of having a Robotics Competition and an App Challenge at the same time, while at the same time being just five minutes away from a Whole Foods. That’s not the Dublin I grew up in, but it’s for the better. The investments that the community made 10-20 years ago to build a high school like this are now paying off, as demonstrated by these developing bright minds.”

We also spoke with two of the student teams developing an app as part of the hackathon:

DSC04222Subhi: “We came up with the idea for a hospital app. In the app you can choose the hospital you are connected to which allows you to get the results of a blood test, for example, or get reminded to take a flu shot. You can send questions to your doctor. The goal is to enhance the relationship between you and your doctor.”

DSC04226Meenakshi: “We’re trying to create an app that can help people deal with negative emotions. When you are angry, sad, anxious, lonely or depressed you go into the app, choose how you feel, and receive positive messages to deal with that specific emotion in a productive way. In high school many students are stressed-out and don’t have good outlets to express their emotions. For students that don’t feel comfortable being public with their emotions this app would provide another way to cope.”



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