Tonko Honors 2022 NY-20 Congressional App Challenge Winner at Emma Willard School

Government and Politics

November 28, 2022

TROY, NY – Congressman Paul D. Tonko visited Emma Willard School in Troy today to recognize Robyn Wu (they/them), the winner of the 2022 Congressional App Challenge for New York’s 20th Congressional District.  During the visit, Tonko delivered congratulatory remarks and presented Robyn with a Congressional Certificate of Achievement and a letter of recognition for this exciting honor.

“I am always amazed by the talent and creativity of our Capital Region’s students, and this year’s submissions for the Congressional App Challenge put that ingenuity on full display,” Congressman Tonko said.  “With their Vultures of Emma app, Robyn demonstrated both their impressive coding skills and an admirable motivation to learn more and to educate others about the history of Emma Willard’s campus and its surrounding natural environment, and I’m proud to acknowledge Robyn’s contribution to the Capital Region’s long history of technological innovation.  I’m grateful to Robyn for their hard work, and I congratulate all the students who participated in this year’s App Challenge.”

Robyn’s app, Vultures of Emma, is a one-stop hub for students, faculty, and members of the community to learn more about the 50+ vultures who can often be seen perched atop buildings on Emma Willard’s campus.  Eager to learn more about these mysterious birds, Robyn worked with a fellow student to gather information, then personally coded the entire website from scratch using a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript coding languages.

You can learn more about the app by visiting its webpage, vulturesofemma.org, or by viewing Robyn’s submission video on YouTube.

This year’s NY-20 Congressional App Challenge winner was chosen by a distinguished panel of local judges, including Dr. Mohammed J. Zaki, Professor and Department Head of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Annmarie Lanesey, CEO and Founder of CanCode Communities, and Tobi Saulnier, CEO of 1st Playable Productions.

The Congressional App Challenge was created by Congress in 2013 to encourage innovation and engagement in coding, computer science, and STEM education.  The App Challenge is open to all eligible middle and high school-aged students in New York’s 20th Congressional District, regardless of coding experience.