News & Events
Press release from the office of Congresswoman Susan Bonamici:
Bonamici Congratulates Local Students Who Won District’s Congressional App Challenge
BEAVERTON, OR [12/03/18] — Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), a member of the House Education and Science Committees, announced that Layton Rosenfeld, Natalie Dodson, and Audrey Daniels – all students at Portland’s Catlin Gabel School – won the Congressional App Challenge for Oregon’s First Congressional District.
The students’ mobile phone application, JonApp, is a task management app for employees with disabilities. It was developed in partnership with a teaching assistant who has developmental disabilities and works at Catlin Gabel. The app helps users with disabilities independently transition between tasks using dictation, images, positive reinforcement, and an intuitive interface.
“Creativity and innovation are key to our economy and essential to future economic growth,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “This year’s Congressional App Challenge brought in thoughtful submissions from an impressive group of students. I congratulate Layton, Natalie and Audrey and their teammates for creating the JonApp. These insightful students have identified a significant need in our communities and developed a useful tool that could benefit people with disabilities in their daily lives.”
A panel of expert judges from Northwest Oregon selected the winning app. The judges evaluated the submissions for creativity, originality, user experience, and design.
“What’s so great about this application is that the developers specifically indicate that no other applications have the functionality people with developmental and cognitive disabilities can use,” said Melissa Smith, a judge and software engineer at New Relic.
Ilana Davis, a judge and Director of Technology at PDXWIT, said that the JonApp is “incredibly simple yet highly valuable” and “well executed.”
“We designed the JonApp to help Jon, an employee of our school with cognitive disabilities,” said Natalie Dodson. “The JonApp helps Jon become more efficient and independent by providing the same support his job coach does. We think that app has wonderful potential and hope that it will help more people in our community in the future.”
"It has been incredibly empowering to see the impact of the app on Jon's independence and efficiency,” said Layton Rosenfeld. “We are excited to continue working on it and hopefully help others like Jon."
Bonamici recognized Layton, Natalie, and Audrey in an informal ceremony at her office. The winning app will be featured on a display in the U.S. Capitol Building and on the House of Representatives website.
Bonamici is a founder and co-chair of the Congressional STEAM Caucus, which advocates for the integration of the arts and design into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education to encourage creative thinking and engage more students. By supporting and recognizing young programmers, Congress is acknowledging the growing importance of technology development. Students across the country competed in the Congressional App Challenge by creating and demonstrating a software application, or “app,” for mobile, tablet, or computer devices. The U.S. House of Representatives organizes the nationwide Congressional App Challenge each year.