Saturday, September 18, 2021


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Political Voices: Ready, Set, Code!


Some of my favorite memories growing up was when school closed for a snow day. But watching the snow pile up outside while waiting for news from the Pierre school district was agonizing as a young kid.

Thanks to Samyok Nepal, a student from Brookings High School, he and his fellow classmates do not have to wait with the same anticipation. 

That’s because Samyok designed Bobcat Notify, an app to alert students of snow days.  

Samyok won last year’s Congressional App Challenge for South Dakota. I was truly impressed by the innovative ideas and caliber of app designs we received from students like Samyok during our first annual competition. 

This week, my office launched our second annual App Challenge, which is open to all middle and high school students. You don’t have to be an expert coder to join the competition – we are looking for students of all skill levels, regardless of coding experience.

The App Challenge is a fun opportunity for young people to learn coding and pique their interest in pursuing a STEM-related career.  

STEM is a rapidly growing field that pays well. But more importantly, our collective success in STEM is imperative to our prosperity as a nation in the future. For the United States to keep its competitive edge over China, we must focus on bridging the skills gap and encouraging more young people to get involved in STEM.

As someone who comes from a background in telecommunications, I am passionate about inspiring the next generation of innovators and I look forward to seeing the array of talent and creativity from students across South Dakota.   

Students interested in participating must submit their app through the Congressional App Challenge website by November 1st. 

Ready, set, code!

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