Coding for Congress: 2017 Congressional Hackathon

For the second year in a row, Quorum teamed up with Girls Who Code to host the 2017 Congressional Hackathon, sponsored by the Software.org: the BSA Foundation and AT&T. A group of over 40 high school students used Python and Quorum data to build visualizations that provided insight to the work of the U.S. Congress.

Cofounder Jonathan Marks leads a discussion on Quorum’s stack.

The offices of Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, Congresswoman Sanchez, Congressman Paulsen, Congresswoman Torres, & Congresswoman Comstock asked groups of coders to dig into issues members are interested in. These projects required the coders to analyze trend graphs on the number of bills mentioning STEM over the past 25 years, build word clouds based on member of Congress’ social media posts, and create heat maps showing which states are most engaged in passing policy and funding programs to increase the number of women in STEM.

Quorum engineer Nikita Gupta leads a coding discussion
Quorum engineer Maya Wei leads a coding discussion

After a day of coding, the group traveled to Capitol Hill and presented their results to members of Congress and their staff. During their presentations, the coders were given the opportunity to debate their interpretations of the data with the audience, including the members of Congress in attendance. Our team had a great time teaching code to these bright and passionate students. We were extremely impressed with the final products they presented to Congress and the creativity and thoughtfulness of these young women.

Rep. Comstock (R-VA-10) applauds the work of Girls Who Code
Rep. Torres (D-CA-35) reminds coders they’re the “shining stars of the future”
“You represent our future. Thanks for making it happen!” — Rep. Paulsen (R-MN-3)

A special thanks to the Software.org: the BSA Foundation and AT&T for sponsoring the Girls Who Code Howard County chapter, and to Chris Hopfensperger, Executive Director of the BSA Foundation for emceeing the presentations on the Hill.

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