Tennessee Tech News

Hackathon brings students, professionals together to help community

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Ania Jennings (left), a first-year P.h.D student at Tech, Michael Lieb (right), a computer science student at Tech, and Aaron Thomson (back) of Indigitous, work on projects during the recent Indigitous#Hack event at Tennessee Tech, a hackathon which was held at 41 locations around the world including Tech.

Published Thursday Nov 2, 2017

Tennessee Tech computer science students and business professionals from around the area spent a weekend in front of a computer screen coming up with ways to help the community.

Indigitous#Hack, an innovative event which brings people together in technology, faith and the common good, was held recently at 41 venues around the world, including Tech.

“We had a mixture of professionals and students and those students ranged from freshman to seniors. They had nothing to build off of but an idea,” said Jerry Gannod, the chairman of Tech’s Computer Science Department. “Indigitous is a Christian organization that sponsors this event but we have people from all walks that were there to do something for the good of the community.”

More than 30 participants used their computer skills and intellectual talents from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon to develop code and create something in hopes of benefitting the community and changing someone’s life.

“This is a really unique opportunity,” said Chelsea Long, a senior computer science major. “In my four years here, we’ve never had something like this. I’m glad to be a part of it. It’s great to help the community and come together and make a difference in peoples lives.”

After sleeping only three or four hours over two days and being somewhat bleary-eyed, the participants presented their hard work on Sunday afternoon. A team created a project for providing resources to those struggling with opioid abuse. For their efforts, Opioid Abuse Resources (OAR) was given the Best Impact on Community award.

The Most Innovative award went to a team that came up with Papyrus/Serval — a project focused on creating communication technology for cellphones that can be used during disaster situations where cell service and other normal means of communication are unavailable.

“I see us doing something like this every year,” said Gannod, about the event. “We’ve gotten some really good feedback from the students and professionals who are here. I think we will be able to gain some momentum from this weekend. Some of the projects will continue to be worked on here at the university.”

“It was a fantastic weekend of people coming together and finding where people can fit in and contribute something and solve problems along the way,” said Aaron Thomson of Indigitous. “People just love to help others. There’s some real comradery that comes out. I think it’s been a real success here.”

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