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ASTI Seniors Receive Congressional Recognition (12/13/2017)
Posted 12/13/17

Two seniors at Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) received Congressional Recognition yesterday for their entry into the Congressional App Challenge.

 

The challenge aims to inspire efforts around STEM, coding, and computer science education by engaging students from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in technology and connecting them with their Congressional representatives.

 

The ASTI students - Vivian Phung and Raymong Huang - received recognition from Representative Barbara Lee of the 13th District for their Gender Neutral Restroom For All App. The web-based application allows people to find gender-neutral bathrooms in any part of the country by linking to a database of some 50 million establishments with gender neutral bathrooms in the US.

 

 “Everyone needs safe places to go to the bathroom,” says Phung. “This helps people find them.”

 

Gender segregated restrooms feel comfortable to people who identify as either “male” or “female.’ But for transgender people and people who otherwise don’t conform to binary notions of gender (i.e., male or female), using those bathrooms can feel uncomfortable or even dangerous. As a result, more and more establishments across the country are offering “gender neutral” bathrooms. In California all public school districts are required to offer at least one at every site.

 

Phung learned to code at a “Girls Who Code” program at Facebook last summer. She is also a youth and gender activist who was appointed by the Hayward City Council to rewrite the City of Hayward’s Anti-Discrimination Policy.  She developed GNR for All as part of an activity in ASTI teacher Brian Rodriguez’s Humanities Seminar.

 

Huang designed his first website while in the 3rd grade and hopes to study computer technology after graduation. He worked with Vivian to make the app more user friendly.   “I was surprised in the cosmopolitan Bay Area that there was no app to help those with such a basic human need.  I am proud to have worked on it,” he says.

 

The app displayed in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. “AUSD is proud of these students’ work to provide for others and advocate for the civil rights of all people,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge.