August 7, 2020

South Dakota is home to outstanding universities and technical colleges that are leading the country in science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) fields that so many students are pursuing. These students have an opportunity to receive a first-class education right here in South Dakota.

While South Dakota has a lot of resources for college-aged students pursuing STEM, there’s no reason we shouldn’t expand our reach to the younger generations. That’s why this week, my office announced South Dakota’s first Congressional App Challenge, a digital app competition for middle and high school students across the state.

The Congressional App Challenge was created because Congress recognized STEM and computer science skills are essential for economic growth in the United States. As a nation, we’ve fallen behind on these fronts, and we have a programmer shortage. STEM jobs are high-paying and in high-demand. It’s crucial we maintain American competitiveness – investing in our youth now and encouraging them to acquire these valuable skills will prepare us as a nation as more careers become STEM focused.

This competition is flexible. The Congressional App Challenge accepts computer programs (or apps) written in any programming language, for any platform (desktop/PC, web, mobile, raspberry Pi, etc.). You may not understand what raspberry Pi is, but your middle schooler might.

Since this is a new competition for South Dakota’s students, I need your help to spread the word. Students must register online by September 10th and submit their app by October 19th. That deadline is coming up fast.

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.

Winners will be selected by a panel of judges in South Dakota and honored by South Dakota’s Congressional office. Winning apps will be featured on display in the U.S. Capitol building and on the Congressional App Challenge website.

I know South Dakota is full of creative students and I’m looking forward to seeing their talents on full display.

To register for the competition, please visit