WARWICK – Ryan Maciel, a home-schooled high school freshman from Narragansett, has won the inaugural House Student App Challenge in Rhode Island’s second congressional district, Rep. James R. Langevin announced last week.
The 2014 House Student App Challenge was created by the U.S. House of Representatives to promote education in the science, technology, engineering and math fields and encourage young people to pursue STEM-related careers. Langevin opened the contest to students over the age of 13 living in or attending school in the second congressional district, working independently or on teams of up to four students. Each individual or team was asked to conceptualize an application for mobile devices, submit source code for the app, and create a demonstration video explaining the app’s function.
Maciel’s mobile app allows users to check water conditions as reported by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sensor buoys. He developed the app under the mentorship of David Stuebe and Lisa Kinloch of science and technology company RPS ASA of South Kingstown.
The App Challenge judges congratulated Maciel on his clear, concise presentation and well-thought-out design and concept, highlighting the “excellent interface and user experience” in their evaluation.
“It is estimated that there will be an additional 8.5 million STEM job opportunities created in the next decade, so we must educate our young people in these fields and encourage them to explore the STEM career options that are available,” said Langevin in a statement. “I applaud Ryan for taking that first step in learning more about a growing industry that could lead to a rewarding career in the future.”
Judges of the second congressional district House Student App Challenge included Allan Tear, co-founder and managing partner of Betaspring; Tuni Schartner, co-founder of The Hive; Jeff Ledoux of the Entrepreneurship Center at Johnson & Wales University; Thorne Sparkman, managing director of the Slater Technology Fund; Nick Kishfy, founder and CEO of MojoTech; Rushikesh Bandekar, president and CEO of Learning Hyperdrive and Alexey Gerasimov, vice president of Cloud Technology Partners.
Maciel’s winning app will be featured on the U.S. House of Representatives website along with other district winners.
Mozart Luis, a student at the Academy for Career Exploration in Providence, was a finalist in the competition. Luis designed an app to prevent text messages or phone calls from being sent or received while a motor vehicle is in motion.