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Hackathon Sponsors Provide Opportunities for Kennesaw State Students

KENNESAW, Georgia | October 7, 2022

In Fall 2022 from Kennesaw State University Hackathon, the students took up a challenge: “Helping people thrive in a connected world”. The prompt was provided by presenting sponsor, Assurant, and inspired by his company’s goal. It was up to the students to use their information technology skills and creativity to find a solution.

“The invite was intentionally left open so that students from different disciplines can get involved,” said Hackathon Director Dawn Tatum, who is also the Director of the College of Computer Science and Software Engineering (CCSE) Partnerships and commitments.

Although the event is open to all students, Hackathon is CCSE’s premier annual event to showcase student talent and connect students with industry partners. Despite its name, the event does not include hacking into computers.

“The hackathon is an opportunity for students to solve challenges and experience what it’s like to use their degree in the real world,” Tatum said.

Assurant representatives were on campus to mentor students and provide feedback on their projects.

“Kennesaw State students have always impressed us with their innovative ideas,” said Joe Spalla, vice president of information technology for Assurant. “The hackathon is a great way for us to help the next generation gain hands-on experience, but also gives us the opportunity to meet some of KSU’s best and brightest students.”

Students also had the unique opportunity to attend a networking session with employees from other companies such as Google, State Farm and SiteOne.

“I really enjoy the networking aspect of the Hackathon as it introduced me to potential employers and gave me more information about the types of jobs available to me after I graduate. ” computing said sophomore Stephen Sulimani.

Sulimani competed with Luke Zeches last year, and this year Devin Beck joined their team.

“I heard the Hackathon was a great opportunity to get some hands-on experience, so I was excited to get involved this year,” Beck said.

Teams of students worked together for three days to come up with a solution to the challenge, and on the final day they pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. Some of this year’s projects included a tool that diagnoses a patient’s heart failure risk using algorithms and datasets, a phone app that allows users to prepay at gas stations for improve efficiency, and a smart refrigerator that collects images of items inside to check quality. and quantity and generates a grocery list based on need.

“I really enjoy the brainstorming and pitching aspect of Hackathon,” Zeches said. “It’s really fun and inspiring to work as a team for a common goal.”

The following student teams were recognized for their work:

1st place – Ngoc Nguyen, Sana Rashid, Megan Vo
2nd place – Key’shawn Billups, Trevor Fouce
3rd place – Jui Mhatre, Aishwarya Turlapati, Surya Praveen Adivi

– O’Brien Barrows Abbey
Photos by Judy Pishnery and Darnell Wilburn

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global connections, and entrepreneurial spirit attract students from across the country and around the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated (R2) doctoral research institution, placing it among an elite group of only 6% of US colleges and universities with R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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