Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Honors Four Manatee Students Who Invented New App to Save Lives

Dec 7, 2020
Press Release

BRADENTON, Fla — Four Manatee County students who designed a new tool to calculate the proper dosage for medicines are the 2020 winners of the 16th Congressional District App Challenge, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced Monday. 

Proving the adage that necessity is the mother of invention, the Medical Dosage Calculator App was created after one of the students’ peers nearly died from a miscalculated medical dosage. 

Buchanan hailed the ingenuity of the students, saying “I can’t commend them enough for Inventing such an important and potentially life-saving tool. I’m proud to name them this year’s winners of the 16th Congressional District App Challenge, part of a national competition to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and math.” 

Ava Biasini, Jordan Sheehan, Kolby Wade and Nolwen Bachtle of Braden River High School in Bradenton were the first-place winners of the competition.

“STEM education gives students the knowledge they need to succeed and helps the U.S. compete in a global economy,” Buchanan continued. “Children are 25 percent of the population, but 100 percent of the future, and the future is in good hands with students like these.” 

The winning entry, “Valitudo” is a medical dosage calculator, where medical providers can input information about their patient's condition/infection, weight, and height, and the app will calculate the proper dosage to administer to the patient. It also includes a medicine database that contains descriptions, dosage information, and side effects of other medicines. The app will be featured on and will also be eligible to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol.

Sheehan expressed his appreciation for the competition saying, “Our team is incredibly honored to be recognized in this way. We felt this was a great opportunity to develop our skills with a real development project.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts overall employment in the economy to grow by 7.4 percent between 2016 and 2026, while jobs in STEM fields are expected to grow by 10.8 percent. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, college-educated STEM job holders earn between 29 percent and 39 percent more per hour than non-STEM employees with equivalent educational attainment. 

The Congressional App Challenge was created by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2015 and allows students to compete against their peers across the country by creating an app for desktop/PC, web, tablet, mobile, raspberry Pi or other devices. The challenge is designed to promote innovation and engagement in computer science.