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Young Delaware coder's app recognized by Congress

Courtesy of Isha Kanchana

A Newark Charter student was among hundreds of young coders across the country to win the Congressional App Challenge.  

The Congressional App Challenge is an annual coding competition for middle and high school students in hundreds of congressional districts. Isha Kanchana won the 2020 competition in Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester’s district with her app">HealthMT

The young app developer is just 13 years old, and she taught herself to code. 

“Google is my mentor,” Kanchana said. 

Kanchana’s app teaches users basic lifesaving skills—like she learned at EMT camp.

“It also goes through scenarios,” she said. “So I have someone walk through, if they’re on the sidewalk and someone just collapses, then I have the user go through the steps they should take, and I have a virtual simulator for how people should perform CPR.”

Kanchana says she’s drawn to emergency medical skills because she likes helping people. 

Credit Isha Kanchana
A screenshot of the CPR simulator in the HealthMT app


“If everyone knew [basic lifesaving skills] or first aid, then it would make such a huge positive impact,” she said. “Because if someone was choking, people would know what to do, instead of having to wait for the ambulance to come or a professional.”

Kanchana says she plans to release HealthMT for Samsung through the Google Play store.

She’s also putting the finishing touches on another health-related app, called Nutriem. It’s a nutrition-focused social media app. 

“Right now, on other social media like Instagram or something, they’re promoting these unhealthy foods and not really giving information about the calorie amount or anything,” Kanchana said. “So I wanted to create a health-based social media, so that people could still have fun but be healthy. So this is a way for people to post about their healthy diets or their healthy recipes that they have, and it also includes a calorie counter.”

Staff in Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester’s office say due to a “record number of quality applications” to the 2020 Congressional App Challenge, several honorable mentions from Delaware were chosen. These are Rohith Maraka of Newark Charter School, Ian Wilt of Brandywine High School, and Khang Nguyen and Jack Riley of Smyrna High School.  

Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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