We learned all of this in a recent conversation with the congressman about his first-ever STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) competition, a challenge to young constituents that begins with the headline, “Do you have what it takes to create the next Snapchat, Instagram, or Angry Birds?” We also talked about the point of this contest: to foster curiosity in science and technology, to encourage kids to develop the skills — from coding to graphic design — that go into designing a successful app, and to make connections with tech-savvy mentors in Rhode Island.

Why does this matter? Among other reasons, Cicilline says that during a recent visit to Providence app-building firm MojoTech’s new offices, he was told by an executive that the company could double in size tomorrow if they could only find the local tech talent they need.

ELIGIBILITY: High schoolers in each rep’s respective district who can submit a valid address to prove where they live.

PRIZE: Winning apps will be displayed at the US Capitol and on the US House of Reps’ website. And, of course, simply by existing, they’ll have the chance to be acquired for billions by Facebook.

DEADLINE: All submissions are due by midnight on April 30.

DETAILS: studentappchallenge.house.gov/



OK, enough of the just-for-kids stuff.

This invitation to participate in “guerilla urbanism” by building mini-shops, “parklets,” art installations, and other creative interventions is open to all folks over 18. And as long as you acknowledge the fine print — “Applicants are free to express ideas and opinions that do not pose a serious or imminent risk or threat to the safety of public interests, and do not include incitement, false statements, obscenities, fighting words or threats” — well, the possibilities are pretty wide open.

“Before I Die. . .” walls. An outdoor ping-pong table. Concerts in empty storefronts. Life-sized, three-sided photo collages installed at bustling intersections. These are all examples of projects funded by the Providence Redevelopment Agency during the inaugural 2013 round of PVD PopUps.

What happens in Year Two is up to you.

ELIGIBILITY: Any member of the public over 18. Judges will value applicants’ familiarity with the neighborhood in which they propose their project— and familiarity with the city of Providence, in general.

PRIZE: The PRA will provide up to 80 percent of winning projects’ funds, not to exceed $10,000 for any project.

DEADLINE: 4 pm on March 28.

DETAILS: providenceri.com/planning/popup-providence 
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