December 18, 2020

Congressman Neguse Announces Winner of 2nd District Congressional App Challenge: braiNformation

Lafayette, COToday, Congressman Joe Neguse announced the winner for Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District Congressional App Challenge, braiNformation. This app was created by three high school students, Krupa Subramaniam and Kai Hoshijo, who attend Legacy High School in Adams 12 and Koki Gunasinghe who attends Peak to Peak Charter School in Boulder Valley School District. The app aims to educate middle and high schoolers about the brain and how mental illness and drug use can affect it.  

A video of the three winners explaining their app is here. 

“I was incredibly inspired by the innovation and creativity displayed in this year’s submissions to the Congressional App Challenge,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “This year’s winners not only displayed their talented coding skills, but really focused on an issue that is influencing young people in our society and developed an app that will provide tools and education to address drug addiction and mental illness. Congratulations to Krupa, Kai and Koki for their incredible work on BraiNformation.” 

“One of the purposes of BraiNformation is to teach students about the brain and nervous system, as it is a rapidly developing field,” said Koki Gunasinghe, one of the app’s designers. “We also hope to promote drug and depression awareness by detailing the symptoms of depression and the effects of common drugs. Especially after the many suicides in Adams 12 Five School District, we wanted to educate students about depression warning signs through an unorthodox, yet effective means, such as an app.”  

“What we really wanted to do was not just discourage drug abuse blindly, but really get into the specifics, especially the scientific specifics of why people are not supposed to do these types of drugs, in order to create a healthier society,” said Krupa Subramaniam. “BraiNformation was really created to educate today’s youth on the main issues that are affecting our society and give more information about brain science as a whole.”

“We wanted to give a 3D model for those who learn visually,” said Kai Hoshijo in explanation of the app and the 3D brain used to explain different neurological functions. “We can also see it at different angles, as well as providing color codes so that you can memorize a brain function with a color.” 

BraiNformation is an app made to help explain brain functions and vulnerabilities to middle and high school students, to better their understanding of mental illnesses and how different drugs can affect brain chemistry. The app has 4 different sections: one with a fact of the week about the brain, one explaining the different functions of each section of the brain, one explaining different types of illnesses that the brain can suffer from, and one explaining how different drugs and narcotics can hurt the brain.

The designers of this app were motivated to educate young people about the brain, and how to prevent damage to it throughout one’s life. The designers also felt motivated to educate youth about drugs and how they can affect and damage the brain, since many young people are experiencing isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With most students taking virtual classes and not being able to socialize normally, the designers of braiNformation have found that many of their peers are turning to drugs to help them pass the time or cope with the stress of the pandemic. They hope this app can provide information to prevent young people from damaging their brains while our world goes through this event and after. 

BraiNformation is available on the App Store and Google Play.