Four Monmouth County high school students enrolled in Communications High School in Wall Township were named the winners of the Congressional App Challenge from New Jersey’s 4th District, Congressman Chris Smith announced on Wednesday.
“The App Challenge encourages school students to become active in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, computer science and programming by creating and exhibiting their software applications,” said Smith. “This challenge is an important step to inspire creativity, career skills and teamwork, which can help participating students to be poised for high-tech jobs of the future.”
The winning students, Connor Bruneau, of Spring Lake, Kevin Dixson, of Manasquan, Steven Topper, of Oakhurst (Ocean Township) and Armando LaMastra, of Holmdel created an app called “RecoLecture.” The app allows teachers to record and securely share lectures with students who have been invited and enrolled in the teacher’s class, retaining full copyright and ownership of the recordings.
Bruneau, Dixson, Topper and LaMastra will share a $400 credit for Amazon Web Service as their reward for winning the Challenge.
Four students from Point Pleasant Borough High School in Point Pleasant Boro will receive Honorable Mentions for their app, “Point Pleasant School District Application.” The app is a way for students and parents to be updated on a multitude of information related to the school. This includes school announcements, lunch information, grades, safety and many other features. Students that received Honorable Mentions are all from Point Pleasant Boro: Jane DeRensis, Jake Ippolito, Haley Hanrahan and Devin Moeller. They will each receive congressional certificates.
The Challenge submission period closed Nov. 2, 2016. Students competed as individuals or in teams of up to four. A panel of local judges reviewed all entrants and select one winner from the Fourth District, plus honorable mentions. The winning apps from across the country will be featured on a display in the Capitol building.
The CAC was created in part to highlight how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills are essential for economic growth and innovation, and also because the U.S. has been falling behind on these fronts. STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17 percent between 2008 and 2018, compared to 9.8 percent growth for non-STEM occupations. According to some estimates, the U.S. may be short as many as three million high-skilled tech workers by 2018.
“Urging young men and women to enter the STEM fields is critical to the future of our nation and necessary for the development of a 21st century, high-skilled workforce that can compete in today’s global economy,” Smith continued. “I thank the students and judges for participating in the competition, and congratulate the winners.”