ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — The nation’s next millionaire app creator may be right here in Maryland. That’s what Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger believes. His team is on a quest to discover young app designers.

As Gigi Barnett explains, hundreds of teens are up to the challenge.

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Got a smartphone? Chances are it’s filled with apps that get you through the day. But if you’ve got an idea for an app, you could end up a millionaire.

“It could make you a household name, which is what I’m looking for,” said Michael Schectman, Pikesville High student.

Just like Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. But who has the next big idea? Maryland Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger says it’s in Maryland, and he is challenging teens in his district to create it.

“You have an opportunity to be another Bill Gates, another Zuckerberg. And we want to excite these kids because this is the generation that’s going to compete with Russia and China,” said Ruppersberger.

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Teens at a tech conference at CCBC Essex are already working on it.

“It’s called ‘A Sneezy Situation.’ This kind of really nerdy science kid is sick, but he doesn’t want to miss the science fair and then he has to fight the germs that are making him sick,” one student said.

Industry experts say the nation currently has a shortage of science and technology professionals. If it continues over the next decade, more than 8 million STEM jobs won’t be filled.

“We don’t want to be second anywhere in the United States of America. We have the best institutions in the world,” said Ruppersberger. “But we know right now, China as an example, is graduating seven to one in STEM education. So we have to take that challenge.”

The competition ends on May 31.

Only students in the state’s 2nd Congressional District are eligible for Ruppersberger’s challenge. The winner will go on to compete nationally.

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