Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) announced that Andres Nedilskyj, Nicolas Alvarado, Marco Palacios, and Christopher De Guzman, students at Pacifica High School in Oxnard, won the 2020 Congressional App Challenge for California’s 26th Congressional District. The students created Mustard Math, an educational gaming app that requires users to solve mathematical equations and collect trash to move their rocket ship forward through space.
“Every year, the Congressional App Challenge highlights the creative and innovative spirit of Ventura County students,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “I want to congratulate Andres, Nicolas, Marco, and Christopher for Mustard Math, which makes practicing math skills a game and reminds us that learning can be fun. I also want to congratulate all participants who took part in this year’s challenge. STEM projects like these are crucial to a well-rounded education, and I am proud of the hard work showcased in this year’s competition.”
“We observed that many elementary school students were not motivated enough to practice their math, so we created Mustard Math to make practicing math more fun,” said the Mustard Math Team. “We also believed that kids should be taught to pick up their trash and help our environment at a young age, so we incentivized it in our game.”
“Even in the midst of the pandemic and state and local stay-at-home orders, Congresswoman Brownley’s support of our students remained a priority,” said Dr. Ramon Flores, Vice President of the Ventura County Board of Education and local judge of the competition. “As a member of the educational community, it was a pleasure to aid in nurturing and developing our county’s future STEM workforce by serving as a judge for the Congressional App Challenge. The combination of creativity and critical thinking needed in our 21st century workforce was evident in all of the student’s submissions.”
The Congressional App Challenge is a competition organized by Members of Congress across the country for middle school and high school students to create their own software applications and gain experience with computer coding. Submissions from students across Ventura County were judged by a panel of experts including: Dr. Ramon Flores, Vice-President of the Ventura County Board of Education; Catharine Reznicek, an Educational Technology Specialist with the Ventura County Office of Education; and Shannon Gillespie McComb, an Oxnard native with degrees in biomedical engineering and law.