(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-08) announced the winners of his 2017 Congressional App Challenge today: a team of Montgomery Blair High School students, William Wang and Kevin Higgs, who won for their submission, “Keyster.”
The Congressional App Challenge began in 2014 as an effort to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and to encourage students to learn coding and computer science skills. Students in participating congressional districts compete against their peers by creating original software applications (“apps”). Applicants competed to win prizes, including a $250 Amazon Web Services credit that can be used toward the cost of hosting their app, and to have their work displayed in the Capitol Building. Winners from across the country will be recognized at the House of Code reception next spring in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate their app to Members of Congress and staff.
This year’s winners, William and Kevin, describe their impressively useful app Keyster as a password manager to help people secure their online accounts. The students noted that four in five people reuse passwords across multiple platforms, which means that when one account is hacked, other accounts using the same password are also compromised. Keyster aims to minimize this risk this by “generating a unique password for every account that, unlike other password managers, is never stored anywhere on your computers or our servers.”
Runner-up, Jason Maa, who is also a student at Montgomery Blair High School, was selected for his app, “Chattering With Me.” He described his app as “a simple, gimmick-free chatroom” without all the excess features included in most other messaging services. “I wanted to make a messenger that functioned with as little overhead as possible,” Mas explained, “while still functioning effectively as a messaging app that could be accessed from both PC and mobile.”
“It is a singular honor to represent Maryland’s 8th District, which is home to so many talented and inspired students, as evidenced by the many excellent entries submitted in this year’s Congressional App Challenge,” said Raskin. “I commend all of the student coders who submitted such innovative and creative apps, and I want to say thank you to all of the family members and educators who support these wonderful students.”
Congressman Jamie Raskin represents Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, which includes Montgomery, Frederick, and Carroll counties. He is the Vice Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, a Senior Democratic Whip, and Freshman Representative to the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee. He also serves on the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee and the Committee on House Administration. He has been a professor of constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law for more than 25 years.