KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 7, 2021
Kennesaw State University’s College of Computing and Software Engineering (CCSE) recently hosted its inaugural Hackathon for Social Good, allowing students to apply their knowledge and technical know-how to solve societal problems.
“This was really an opportunity for our students to use their acquired skills and make an impact on some area of social good and, in return, better their communities,” said Dawn Tatum, event coordinator and director of CCSE partnerships and engagements. “This was a great occasion to unite the University through a common cause and give all of our students valuable experience in the process.”
Unlike the Hackathon held every fall, which is open to students studying within CCSE, the Hackathon for Social Good was open to students of all majors. Throughout the weeklong virtual event, students used their skills to tackle challenges posed by sponsoring companies. This year’s challenge sponsors – Visa, BlackRock and HPCC Systems – each presented one challenge in the technology or business area that was related to an area of social good that they wished to target. Groups of student teams worked to present solutions to company problems, including using data sets to create a risk score for missing children in Georgia and exploring a mock website with deficiencies to protect against hackers. Another challenge urged students to build an environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) themed investing app. Students presented their solutions to the industry sponsors at the end of the event.
Students also listened to speaker sponsors throughout the week, including Shaw Industries and Kimberly-Clark, who presented on various topics to bring an awareness to areas of social good along with KSU’s Campus Awareness, Resource and Empowerment (CARE) Services, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, BlackRock and ATLytiCS. Assurant was the event’s giving sponsor.
“Through the Hackathon for Social Good, I was able to see how some of the skills I've learned like user interface design and working with datasets are actually applied in the real world,” said Suzan Manasreh, a computer science major. “Beyond that, it was incredibly fulfilling to see that these skills could actually be used to make an immediate impact in the community.”
The Hackathon for Social Good also served as a philanthropic effort to benefit KSU’s CARE Services, which received a portion of sponsorship money. Established in 2013, CARE Services provides support to KSU students who have experienced homelessness, food insecurity and/or the foster care system.
“The proceeds will be so beneficial to support CARE’s mission as we work to ensure all students can realize a healthy, stable and dignified life both academically and professionally,” said Marcy Stidum, director of CARE Services. “CARE is always looking for a variety of ways to partner with our campus community so we can reach and serve more students who could benefit from our services, and as a result of the Hackathon, some of the sponsors have reached out to CARE to see how they could further partner with us.”
A total of nine teams were awarded prizes on the final day of the Hackathon for Social Good:
1st place: Suzan Manasreh, Abram Poole and Jairrel Waymond
2nd place: Munia Rahman and Ashiv Sharma
3rd place: Karen Dsouza and Lisa Stanovski
1st place: Neel Patel, Yagna Patel and Zach Stover
2nd place: Lauren Pope
3rd place: Taylor Blade, David Sousley and Mia Wimbish
1st place: Shravan Cheekati and Caden Robertson
2nd place: David Blunk, Nico Capparelli and Andrew Goeden
3rd place: Christopher Filli, Kenneth Karlinski and Jade Lamoreaux
– Josh Milton
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.