Larsen Announces Winner of 2018 Congressional App Challenge

Nov 7, 2018 Issues: Education

EVERETT, WA—Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) today announced Abas Hersi, a Running Start student at Everett Community College, as the winner of the 2018 Congressional App Challenge.

Hersi came up with the idea for his app, Swipiatry, after noticing students at his high school seemed depressed and antisocial. “I wanted change to ensue,” said Hersi. Hersi’s app will alleviate the anxiety of finding mental health support.

According to Mental Health America, more than 11 percent of youth ages 12-17 suffer from at least one major depressive episode in the last year and 64 percent of youth suffering from these episodes do not receive any mental health treatment.

“I wanted to make the process of seeking mental help fun and cost-free by utilizing donations and funds to make seeing a psychiatrist or therapist free, accessible and easy,” said Hersi.

“The Congressional App Challenge has again shown the creativity of students from across Northwest Washington. I congratulate all of the students who participated in this year’s competition and our winner, Abas Hersi, who tackled one of the most pressing issues facing students across the country,” said Larsen. 

This year’s app designs included an app to practice and learn math skills in a fun and engaging way; an app to make note taking easy; and an app to help determine how much to tip at a restaurant based on service experience and to help decide future restaurants to visit.

As the Second District winner, Hersi will receive $250 in Amazon Web Services credits, and his app will be eligible to be on display in the U.S. Capitol building and, on the House of Representatives website.

In 2016, Burlington-Edison High School senior Alexandria Kissas won with an app designed to help people organize multiple lists on their smart phones.

The Congressional App Challenge is an annual competition that aims to help maintain U.S. competitiveness by proactively inspiring youth to pursue crucial STEM skills.