U.S. Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, announced Audrey Ha of Menlo-Atherton High School is this year’s winner of the 2020 Congressional App Challenge for California’s 18th Congressional District. Ha’s app SurveyHurricane, uses AI to accurately and quickly detect damaged houses on aerial imagery of storm-impacted regions. 

Ha was inspired to assist the efforts of the federal government to help Americans recover from hurricanes and storms which have been increasing year after year due to climate change. SurveyHurricane uses machine learning and publicly available data to identify homes following a natural disaster to help in the recovery effort. It can assist first responders and government organizations in efficiently assessing hurricane damage and planning critical storm relief efforts.

“I applaud Audrey for using her creative energy and technical expertise to address an immediate problem. I’m proud of Audrey and all the students who entered their app this year to help others during a difficult year while they, too, have had many new challenges. Bravo to Audrey and all the students who entered the App Challenge,” Eshoo said in a press release.

Eshoo is a founding co-chair of the Congressional App Challenge. Established by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, this bipartisan competition is part of a nationwide event that invites high school students from all participating congressional districts to compete by creating and exhibiting their software application, or “app,” for mobile, tablet or computer devices on a platform of their choice. It is designed to promote innovation and engagement in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education fields.

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