Akron Students Win Congressional App Challenge for App that Combats Opioid Epidemic

Akron Students Win Congressional App Challenge for App that Combats Opioid Epidemic

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From left: Nathan, Robert, and Sam.

Nathan Dort and Robert Frazier, students at the National Inventors Hall of Fame High School in Akron, won the 2017 Congressional App Challenge and will be honored by Congressman Tim Ryan at a ceremony on January 8.

Their app, “The Truth About Opioids,” was developed in response to the topic derived from a problem-based learning scenario involving Summit County Public Health and the Akron Fire Department.

“This year, I was blown away by the creativity of all the students who submitted their apps. I want to congratulate Nathan Dort and Robert Frazier from NIHF STEM High School in Akron for their work on this worthwhile project,” said Congressman Ryan. “I also want to commend the goals of the Congressional App Challenge, which is to ensure continued growth and innovation in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and to encourage students to excel in those occupations. By 2018, we are going to need up to three million new, highly-skilled workers in the STEM field; and it is crucial that we make every effort to provide students with an opportunity to develop the skills necessary for tomorrow’s job market.”

“This is a tremendous honor for Nathan and Robert; and we heartily congratulate them on their hard work, creativity and dedication to learning. This award is also for our educators and administrators who inspire our students every day,” said Superintendent David James, Akron Public Schools. “We thank Congressman Tim Ryan for this opportunity to give America a glimpse at the bright light that glows inside students in our public schools. The best and the brightest are all around us.”

“The Congressional App Challenge was an amazing opportunity and experience for our Akron STEM High School learners to employ their 21st-century skills in an authentic situation. Nathan and Robert were able to use their collaborative, innovative and critical thinking skills that are embedded their AP Computer Science course to develop their app and tie it to our local community,” said Dina Popa, Principal of NIHF STEM High School. “This app was a solution developed during their Problem Based Learning unit where they explored ways to educate our community and create a safer environment by addressing the opioid epidemic in Northeast Ohio. We appreciate Congressman Ryan’s commitment to support STEM education by running this competition.”

“I would say that this particular Problem Based Learning Unit really helped to give me hope,” said Sam Appleby, Learning Coach of NIHF STEM High School. “My brother Dan passed away in 2013 after overdosing on heroin.  Over the last four years, I have gone from experiencing helplessness in dealing with the opioid epidemic to now experiencing hope that our future generations will provide relief to both addicts and families.”

“Winning the Congressional App Challenge has been an honor, and I believe it has positively impacted my life for the long term,” said Robert Frazier. “Learning how to code from doing the Congressional App Challenge has been a fun experience for me, but it also has opened my eyes to the larger world of coding and how I can apply it to my life and community.”

“As we began the Problem Based Learning scenario, Robert and I used the design process to develop our final version which was selected as the winning app,” said Nathan Dort. “We are very excited to be part of Congressman Ryan’s program and look forward to continuing the development of our app.”

The Congressional App Challenge was created because Congress recognized that STEM and computer-based skills are essential for economic growth and innovation and that the U.S. has been falling behind on these fronts. The nationwide competition highlights the creativity and talent of the students in each Congressional District, with each district selecting a winner and their app to be prominently featured at the U.S. Capitol. Congressman Ryan was one of two Congressional Co-Chairs for this year’s challenge.

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