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Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty

Representing the 5th District of Connecticut


Esty Welcomes Winners of 2016 Congressional Student App Challenge to Washington, D.C.

April 13, 2017
Press Release

Esty with winners Veronika Cordero, Matthew Jones, Raul Calderon, and Joseph Grenier during a surprise school visit in December 2016

WASHINGTON D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) last week joined Raul Calderon, Joseph Grenier, and Matthew Jones, the 2016 Congressional App Challenge winners, for a reception on Capitol Hill to congratulate them on their success in the competition. 

The four winners – Raul Calderon, Joseph Grenier, Matthew Jones, and Veronika Cordero – won in Esty’s district for their app “Unmutable.” Esty previously congratulated all four winners during a surprise visit to Kaynor Technical High School in Waterbury in December 2016. 

“Unmutable” aims to provide a voice to folks who are unable to communicate verbally. To use the app, the user must type what they would like to say, and the word is then spoken aloud by the phone.

“I was incredibly impressed with Raul, Joseph, Matthew, and Veronika’s app, which helps those who cannot speak aloud to communicate,” Esty said. “Representation matters in STEM, and ‘Unmutable’ literally gives voice to an issue that may often be overlooked or ignored. I’m proud to host the Congressional App Contest every year, because it enables students across Connecticut to showcase their creativity and build skillsets that will serve them well throughout their lives.” 

Esty with Raul Calderon, Joseph Grenier, and Matthew Jones at the #HouseOfCode Reception


“We chose our idea as a group by asking around our class for any ideas and eventually we found the idea to create a sort of soundboard to aid those who have difficulty communicating. My career goals are to hopefully learn a lot more about programming, and learn more about how to build an application and/or program from the ground up and use that information to hopefully get a job in programing,” Joseph Grenier said. “I believe our group is keen on the idea of joining the competition again as to prove ourselves further with a more complex program to show our abilities.”

Approximately 100 students from over 50 Congressional Districts traveled to Washington D.C to demo their winning apps to an audience of 400 people, including 38 Members of Congress. The winning entries will also be on display in the Capitol Building, as well as on the House.Gov website. 

The App Challenge is an annual contest designed to highlight the value of computer science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and encourage all students to engage in these fields. The 2017 Congressional App Challenge will begin on July 26, and run until November 1. Students can find information and updates on Esty’s website at