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Cole Announces Fourth District Winners of Congressional App Challenge

December 7, 2020
Press Release

2020 Congressional App Challenge winnersWashington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) today announced that Lauren Smith and Katrina Ashpaugh are the Fourth District of Oklahoma winners of the 2020 Congressional App Challenge, an annual and nationwide competition that fosters engagement and educational growth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) among middle and high school students. Smith attends Moore High School and Ashpaugh attends Norman High School. Both students also attend Moore Norman Technology Center, where they teamed up to develop their winning app.

“I am delighted to congratulate Lauren Smith and Katrina Ashpaugh as the first Fourth District of Oklahoma winners of the Congressional App Challenge,” said Congressman Cole. “Their app is a wonderful introduction for beginners of all ages to learn basic coding and have fun in doing so. I am very impressed by their applied skills and knowledge. Certainly, they have very bright futures.”

Working together, Lauren Smith and Katrina Ashpaugh created their winning app “Homeward Guides,” which focuses on teaching basic coding techniques through a series of games and obstacles. The app, created for Mobile Android, tells a story of guiding a snake home by using various data types used often in coding and displays different coding languages.

“The Congressional App Challenge helped me learn a lot about teamwork and innovation. I had a lot of fun making an app about something important to me,” said Lauren Smith.

“The Congressional App Challenge has given me the opportunity to learn how to work with others virtually and helped me learn how to communicate goals while working on big programming projects,” said Katrina Ashpaugh.

A video demonstration of the app can be found here.

Background on the Congressional App Challenge

Launched by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2015, the Congressional App Challenge each year invites students to create an application (“app”) for desktop/PC, web, tablet, mobile, raspberry Pi or other devices using any programming language – such as C, C++, Java, JavaScript, Python, Ruby or "block code." The competition is open to all students who meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of their coding experience. Winning apps from congressional districts across the country are eligible for display in the U.S. Capitol and featured on the House of Representatives’ website at

This is Congressman Cole’s first year hosting the competition for the Fourth District of Oklahoma.

More information is available at