April 12, 2024


WASHINGTON Today, Representative Lou Correa (CA-46) announced Matthew Bersalona, a resident of Anaheim, Calif. and student at Oxford Academy, as the winner of the 2023 Congressional App Challenge in California’s 46th District. As one of the challenge winners, Matthew was invited to demonstrate his app to Members of Congress and their staff in the U.S. Capitol. 


Rep. Correa presents Matthew Bersalona with a Congressional Recognition for his winning of the Congressional App Challenge

“Matthew created his app, Recollect, as a way to help tackle the mental health crisis by his peers and millions across this country head-on. It was designed to let users meditate, track tasks, and journal every day to ease the burden of stressors and incentivize putting mental health first,” Correa said. “It’s no surprise that Matthew was the winner of my Congressional App Challenge this past year. He’s an incredibly bright mind who meets every challenge he faces with poise and purpose—and embodies the next generation of STEM leadership, homegrown right here in Orange County.” 

You can watch a walkthrough of his app, Recollect, HERE and by clicking the image below. 


Screenshot of Matthew’s development and demonstration of his app, Recollect

When asked what inspired the creation of Recollect, Bersalona said: “A few months ago, I reached one of the lowest points of my life, feeling depressed and hopeless because of the fact that I was doing nothing good with my life. Even though I knew that I had important things to do at that time, I completely neglected them because I was consumed by my video game addiction. That was up until I saw a YouTube video [that made] me realize that I was feeling horrible about myself because I was treating myself horribly. With this realization, I became more organized with my life, which led to me being more productive and feeling better about myself. The shocking fact about high school students, especially those at my school, is that many of them can relate to having poor mental health at some point.”

The Congressional App Challenge is an official 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. Each participating Member of Congress selects a winning app from their district, and each winning team is invited to showcase their winning app to Congress during our annual #HouseOfCode festival. The program is a public-private partnership made possible through funding from Omidyar Network, AWS, Rise, theCoderSchool, Apple, and others. The wildly successful competition continues to impress upon House Members the importance of computer science education and the need to develop a pipeline of diverse, domestic STEM talent.

“Mental health is a silent epidemic that plagues teens for a majority of their lives, which is why I tried to tackle it with Recollect,” Bersalona concluded. “By creating a healthy mental space for the user, their mental health should improve over time. Even if it is not a solution for everyone, I hope this app can be used to better their lifestyles.