Hiya Shah (‘22) wins first place in 2020 Congressional App Challenge


Hiya Shah

Hiya is an upcoming junior changing the world through her code.

Mandy Wong, Senior Editor

AV junior Hiya Shah developed an app called Maji which won the 2020 Congressional App Challenge for California’s District 15. The challenge is hosted by members of Congress, and Shah’s project placed first in District 15, which includes much of Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

“The goal of my app is to make updated water quality information more accessible to Pleasanton residents. Lead was discovered in one of Amador Valley’s drinking fountains a couple of years ago, and the overall lack of awareness of our water quality struck me,” said Shah (’22).

Her internship with nonprofit organization The Go Green Initiative also furthered her interest in water conservation. 

“Mrs. Jill Buck from the Go Green Initiative was also a great inspiration and supporter to me,” said Shah (’22). Jill Buck is the founder of the Go Green Initiative and an active local speaker on climate change awareness.

The app isn’t the only coding project Shah has taken under her wing. Shah also continues to work on TheCodeBakery, which is a project she began last year.

“One of the projects I am working on this year is TheCodeBakery, a peer-learning platform to teach students computer science and artificial intelligence, with a particular focus on combating climate change,” said Shah (’22). “Currently, we have around eighty students and volunteers from seven countries around the world.”

Students with coding experience can join TheCodeBakery to share their knowledge, and those looking to learn can access free instructional videos. Through TheCodeBakery, students can also participate in workshops such as the upcoming AI and Sustainability workshop.

“We are working hard to hold a free AI and Sustainability workshop for middle and high schoolers, and more information about registering for that will be out soon on our Instagram,” said Shah (’22).

At Amador, Shah also pursues her love of coding as the leader of the UI/UX Design Club. The club’s next activity is a Virtual and Augmented Reality workshop for middle school students. 

“You will learn to build your own virtual or augmented reality game and get your own VR headset,” said Shah (’22).

High school students can also participate as workshop leaders.

“This is also a great opportunity for AVHS high schoolers to mentor and earn senior service volunteer hours,” said Shah (’22).

Shah’s passion for coding is clear to see, even amidst a global pandemic.