Bayside student announced as winner of Queens lawmaker’s congressional app challenge

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Congresswoman Meng congratulates 16-year-old Vincent Yip, a Bayside resident and 11th grader at Townsend Harris High School, who won first place in the Congressional App Challenge. (Photo courtesy of Meng’s office)

A Bayside student has been selected as the winner of Congresswoman Grace Meng’s Congressional App Challenge, a nationwide contest held by the House of Representatives in which students compete by creating and exhibiting an app for mobile, table or computer devices.  

Vincent Yip, 16, a resident of Bayside and an 11th grader at Townsend Harris High School in Flushing, took first place in the competition for his app, “Sit Straight!” which seeks to promote good posture. The app warns people when they are slouching by blurring their screen and providing them with a notification about it. 

The app works by allowing people to set a desired posture position and the camera on the computer detects if individuals deviate from it. The notification tells users to correct their posture and the screen stays blurred until they return to the desired position.

Yip said he wanted to create an app that would serve as a second pair of eyes to remind people to correct their posture, which is important for their health and quality of life. 

“When I first found out that I won, I was extremely excited,” Yip said. “The idea for my app came to me when I was slouching in my chair and my mom’s endless reminders to sit back straight were lingering in my ear. I’m glad that I entered it in the contest, and I’m thrilled and honored to be selected as the winner.”

Yip plans to major in computer science or a related field when he attends college, and intends to pursue a career related to computer science as well.

The competition consisted of entries from students at Queens middle schools and high schools. Yip, along with the winners from app contests in congressional districts throughout the United States, will now have their apps displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol and on the House of Representatives’ official website. 

He and the other winners have also been invited to showcase their apps to members of Congress at #HouseOfCode, a special reception scheduled to take place on Capitol Hill in April.

“I am extremely impressed with Vincent’s app and how he uses his coding skills to highlight the importance of good posture,” Meng said. “Proper posture is critical to people’s health and wellbeing, and I commend Vincent for creating this practical and useful app to help people maintain it. I congratulate him for winning my competition, and look forward to his app representing Queens in the U.S. Capitol and on the House of Representatives’ website. I also thank all the talented students who entered my competition.”

There were also second and third place winners for Meng’s contest. 

Evan Cedeno, an 11th grader from Rego Park, won second place for developing an app to help people generate their own artwork. 

Isaac Wong, a 10th grader from Bayside, won third place for creating an app that acts as a grade of point average calculator. 

All three students recently met with Meng in her northeast Queens office where she also presented them with special certificates of congressional recognition.

(l to r): Congresswoman Meng congratulates first place winner Vincent Yip, third place winner Isaac Wong and second place winner Evan Cedeno. (Photo courtesy of Meng’s office)

Participants of the contest were permitted to compete individually or in teams of up to four students. The first, second and third place winners of Meng’s competition competed individually. All of the apps, which were entered by the deadline this past November, were required to be original in concept, design and execution.

The winners of Meng’s competition were selected by a panel of local judges who work within the academic, tech and coding fields. They include:

  • Ying Zhou, executive director of the Tech Incubator at Queens College.  
  • Jukay Hsu, co-Founder and CEO of Pursuit, a social impact organization that trains people for tech careers.
  • Becky Houran, program implementation manager at Girls Who Code.
  • Jin Hyun Bae, special advisor for the Programs and Services Department at the Queens Public Library.
  • Anthony Negron, director of Digital Programming at the New York Hall of Science.

 Since the national Congressional App Challenge’s inception in 2015, thousands of functional apps have been created by over 50,000 students from all across the country.

Approximately 9,011 students registered for this year’s competition and 2,707 fully functioning apps were entered. 335 Members of Congress from across 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa and the District of Columbia participated. This year’s contest also set the record for most student registrations and most apps submitted.

The Congressional App Challenge was created to encourage students to learn to code and inspire them to pursue careers in computer science.