Making an (app)earance

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“I really tried to gear my app towards anyone who needed help understanding proteins and their function,” Riffle, pictured left with Florida representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, said. “Bioinformatics is something I really see myself pursuing as a career.” (Photo submitted by Marisa Behar)

As an avid member of the robotics club and computer science society, senior Dylan Riffle expresses his love for computer science beyond the classroom. Last month, Florida representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz chose Riffle as the winner of the Congressional App Challenge in Florida’s 23rd district.

According to The Congressional App Challenge, The Congressional Act Challenge “is an initiative of the U.S. House of Representatives, where members of Congress host contests in their districts for middle school and high school students, encouraging them to learn to code and inspiring them to pursue careers in computer science.”  In 2019, over 10,000 students registered to participate, with a total of  2,177 student-made apps reviewed by their district representatives.

Riffle’s app, Perse Visualizer, allows users to view a three dimensional model of proteins and structures with just a few clicks. The app, geared towards teachers, students and presenters, started with something Riffle had trouble with in his freshman year science class. “I had a hard time in ninth grade  reading my biology textbook and seeing the things that I was reading about,” Riffle said. “Now, anyone can see and understand what proteins are and how they work.”

Perse Visualizer isn’t Riffle’s only app, nor the first he has created. He had created four apps prior to his award-winning protein simulator, including a few similar Mario, Flappy Bird Asteroid and his very own cat simulator.

From here, Riffle will participate with the other winning teams at the House of Code, where a winner will be chosen March 24. At the House of Code, students will get a chance to see their apps displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building and meet their representatives.

As a junior at Heritage, Emily is trying to face high school as best as she can. At school, Emily can be found playing violin in the orchestra, attempting to recruit members into Dead Poets Society, and frantically sprinting from the 9000 to get to her class on the other side of campus. Outside of school, Emily enjoys writing poetry, repeatedly watching the same movies, and partially succeeding in her goal of reading five books a week.

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