Morris Vocational Student Wins NJ-11 Congressional App Challenge

Riya Dadheech

MORRIS COUNTY — Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) announced that Morris County Vocational School of Technology student and Parsippany resident Riya Dadheech is the winner of the 2020 Congressional App Challenge for New Jersey’s 11th District. Riya’s app, Plate of Hope, creates a platform to connect and match food donors with food pantries in need.

“Food insecurity is a critical issue in our community and across the country as a result of the pandemic. Riya’s app connects food banks and those looking to help, allowing donors to target giving efficiently and food banks to get the items most needed,” said Representative Mikie Sherrill. “I’d like to thank Riya for her focus on helping others during this difficult time and congratulate her on winning this year’s competition. We had so many impressive submissions for the 2020 Congressional App Challenge and I applaud all the students who participated. I also want to thank both the computer science teachers in NJ-11 who encouraged their students to submit apps and our judges for their time and effort.”

“We’re incredibly proud of and humbled by the selfless acts of our student, Riya Dadheech,” said Principal Lynne Jackson of the Morris County School of Technology. “Riya’s commitment to volunteerism contributes to the well-being of the communities around us.”

“On behalf of Morris County and our board, I congratulate Riya Dadheech and the Morris County Vocational School of Technology. Her App not only demonstrates a keen awareness of the immense demand being made of our food pantries during the pandemic but also her propensity for the type of problem-solving we hope to find in our future leaders – and we no doubt believe Riya will be standing prominently among them one day. This award also reflects strongly on the Morris County Vocational School District, which regularly ranks among the best public schools in our area,” said Morris County Freeholder Director Deborah Smith.

“I’ve been aware of Riya, her forward-thinking community spirit, and her zeal for volunteerism for about two years now,” said Michael Soriano, Mayor of Parsippany-Troy Hills. “Riya gives me hope for the future. Young people like Riya can teach those of us in civic leadership what’s important in life. I’m always impressed by her, and when I see the things she’s accomplished, it warms my heart.”

To watch Riya’s video submission explaining her app, click here.

Students from 11 different towns in the district participated in the app challenge this year. Judges scored apps based on functionality, creativity, and user experience. Our judges included:

  • Shahram Dabiri, STEM Manager, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Armaments Center, Picatinny Arsenal
  • Cassandra Mainiero, Human Capital Management Office, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC), Picatinny Arsenal
  • Maria Gonzalez, Senior Associate STEM, Workforce Development with NJ1, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC), Picatinny Arsenal
  • Alfred Bentley III, PhD, Founder and CEO, vipHomeLink
  • Professor Michael Tirrito, Assistant Professor, Information Technologies, County College of Morris

The Congressional App Challenge launched in 2014 to encourage students nationwide to code. The Congressional App Challenge is designed to engage student creativity and encourage their participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education fields.  The winner’s App is eligible to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol Building and featured on the U.S. House of Representatives’ website,

The competition was open to middle school and high school students who live or attend school in NJ-11. The full set of eligibility rules for individual and team entries can be found by clicking here.