Jenks High School student wins Congressional App Challenge
Reid Sotkin, a junior at Jenks High School, combined his fascination for coding with his interest in investing to create the winning entry in the 2020 Congressional App Challenge.
Sotkin, along with thousands of students from across the country, created and submitted apps to be judged against other entries from their Congressional District. The 16-year old was surprised with a phone call from Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) to inform him of his selection as the winner for the First Congressional District of Oklahoma.
Using multiple coding languages, Sotkin developed an app called “Calculating The Future” to teach young people how to invest wisely and use the power of compound interest to plan for retirement.
“Most kids my age don’t realize you can invest $150 per month when you’re young and have millions in the bank by the time you retire,” stated Sotkin when asked about his inspiration for the app. “My app helps you visualize the big picture and shows you what can be possible based on your income and your budget.”
Sotkin confirmed his love for coding and web development during a computer science class at Jenks High School and through classes at Tulsa Tech. He learned a new programming language in order to complete his app and spent approximately 50 hours entering code to make the app functional and user-friendly. He completed his application into the Congressional App Challenge by submitting a video explanation of his app to be viewed by the contest’s judges.
“When I got the call from Congressman Hern, I was so surprised,” Sotkin recalled. “I wanted to win, and I thought I had a chance, so I was extremely excited to hear from him and learn that I had won.”
“The Congressional App Challenge exists for students like Mr. Sotkin,” said Representative Hern. “Mr. Sotkin had a brilliant idea for a valuable app, and he taught himself how to code in order to make his idea a reality. There is so much young talent here in our district and it’s important for parents and educators to cultivate STEM skills in our students moving forward. STEM fields are the gateway to the jobs of the future, and I am so proud of the work that Mr. Sotkin, and other Congressional App Challenge winners across the country have accomplished.”
Sotkin’s winning entry will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building and featured on the House of Representatives’ website. He will also receive $250 in Amazon Web Service credits, and possibly, a trip to Washington D.C. if the trip can be arranged sometime in 2021. Beyond high school, Sotkin says he will continue to follow his passion for coding and hopes to start his own software company.
“I love building things and I thought I might want to be an engineer, but with coding, I discovered I can build anything I want,” Sotkin remarked. “All you need is the knowledge. It is the perfect platform for me to create. I feel like if I know enough about coding, I can start my own business in a week.”