Local senior wins Congressional App Challenge

Bronx High School of Science student will present his app to Congress


Matthew Greenspun, a Bronx High School of Science senior, was honored in the Congressional App Challenge last week for his work on the creation of a tutoring app for his school.

Principal Rachel Hoyle celebrated the success of four students representing two congressional districts that include Bronx High School of Science.

Hoyle said that Greenspun, who lives in the 15th congressional district, created an app that very specifically recognize a need within the school. The National Honor Society students at the school have a tutoring system that enables all students to sign up to be tutored and National Honor Society students can offer tutoring or sign up themselves.

What has been happening is that a person would sit down in their free time and match those folks who need help with the people who can offer the tutoring, according to Hoyle. And then they have to find a time in common to meet.

“So often the period where the folks are asking for the help has passed, the test has come and gone, and then maybe the tutoring is offering and Matt recognized that was something that could be automated,” said Hoyle.

Hoyle explained that often students would sign up late for tutoring, not allowing enough time for the human component to take place between their sign up and the due date for their studying needs.

Greenspun’s idea eliminated the human element of scheduling and simplifies the system to better serve all the students.

U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, who represents the 15th District, took the stage on Feb. 8 to congratulate Greenspun and discuss the goal of this Congress-led project.

“The purpose of the competition is to challenge young leaders to be innovators, to be problem-solvers, to develop technological solutions, to solve the problems affecting our society, and we’re here to celebrate the winner of the first-ever congressional app competition in the Bronx,” he said.

Torres credits the app creation as a sign of the times.

“We’re living in a time where emerging technologies like semiconductors and artificial intelligence is revolutionizing life as we know it,” he said, “we’re about to experience a level of technological change that we’ve never seen as a species.”

The Congressional App Challenge is a new initiative on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives. The challenge selects a winner in each Congressional district, making Greenspun District 15’s first-place winner. Their mission is “encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science. This resounding show of bipartisan support emphasizes the critical importance of STEM education in today’s rapidly evolving world.”

Greenspun gave the audience a preview video of how the app works. Everything is streamlined for not just tutoring but for event creation and volunteering.

Once an event has been created in the app, the event creator can choose what kind of volunteer roles they are looking for and the number of volunteers needed. Students can log in and find upcoming events and easily sign up to volunteer in the roles they prefer.

“National Honor Society had a lot of inefficiencies so it helps organize all our school events and also it gives free tutoring to all the students at school,” Greenspun said. He said that it took too much time to sit down and go through google forms and documents to set up tutoring and events.

“It really simplifies everything,” Greenspun said of the app.

He said that he learned how to make the app while attending Bronx Science.

“I took an app development class here last year. I also just learned on YouTube and with online resources.” He originally made the app as a final project for his app development class but decided to take it further by trying to implement it’s use at the school.

He is still waiting for the city’s education department to provide approval for the app’s use in the school. He’s a senior now and won’t be able to see the application’s full launch in the school but he made clear that he is training someone to take over in his place. In his plans for the fall and the start of college, he wants to study computer science.

In addition to Greenspun, there were three winners from congressional District 6, which is represented by Grace Meng. Students Rachel Wu, Eugene Xu, and Yuan Gao created an app by the name of Nurgent that closes the gap on public information on public restrooms.

Matthew Greenspun, Bronx High School of Science, Congressional App Challenege, Rachel Hoyle, Ritchie Torres, STEM