PHS student wins 2023 Congressional App Challenge

Sai Dorasani is shown displaying information about her app at her table with Congresswoman Cori Bush.U.S. Representative Cori Bush named senior Sai Dorasani as the winner of the 2023 Congressional App Challenge for the 1st District of Missouri. Dorasani earned the honor for Envo Recycling, an image recognition app for a trash can that helps people decide whether to compost, recycle or trash an item with a snap of a camera. The app can recognize specific items, including an envelope, water bottle, apple or plastic bag and state where to put each item.

“When recycling at home, I find myself often confused,” Dorasani said about her inspiration. “I try to read the instructions in the back, but most of the time, there are no instructions. In sports stadiums, I see a lot of people just throwing all their trash and recycling in one bin, and some are confused about which bin they have to use to dispose of their trash. This is why I created Envo recycle bins, which help users see if their item is recycled or composted and dispose of those items in one of the three Envo bins.” 

The Congressional App Challenge is a national competition highlighting the value of computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. Established by members of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2015, the Congressional App Challenge allows students from across the country to compete by creating and exhibiting an app of their creation. Students entering the competition must provide a video demo explaining their app and what they learned through this competition process. 

The submitted apps are judged by a panel of experts from the region and the winning app from each participating congressional district will be featured on the U.S. House of Representatives’ website and as part of a U.S. Capitol exhibit. The Congressional App Challenge is considered to be one of the most prestigious prizes in student computer science.

Dorasani was invited to Washington, D.C. on April 10 and 11 for the 2024 #HouseOfCode celebration for the 2023 Congressional App Challenge winners. More than 360 winning students from 47 states and territories attended the celebration, where they were joined by dozens of members of Congress. The winners were invited to showcase their app to Congress and Bush invited Dorasani to her office and presented Dorasani a certificate for winning the challenge.

This is the second year in a row Dorasani has won the Congressional App Challenge. Last year, Dorasani and her brother, Tanish Dorasani, won the 2022 challenge for Vaidyo - BioChain. Vaidyo, which means doctor in Sanskrit, was their solution to the problem they identified with storing, sharing and maintaining patient records on multiple patient portals.

Watch Dorasani’s video submission here.