On Saturday, September 8, The Hurt Hub was buzzing with the activity of 40+ students working on an open-ended challenge at the 2018 Davidson College Hackathon. Participants and volunteers arrived before 8:30AM for breakfast, orientation, and the unveiling of the challenge — to experience Davidson’s campus in a new way, focusing on historical, artistic, STEM, or other perspectives. Meeting rooms and work spaces all over The Hurt Hub filled with computers and coffee-chugging students and staff as they worked throughout the day to build websites and apps. Lucid Travel CEO and Flywheel Coworking member Ben Knosby treated the crowd to a great lunchtime talk, sharing nine secrets to success from his entrepreneurship journey.
Finally, at 4:30PM, the teams submitted their work and presented it to a celebrity panel of judges from campus: Kristen Eshleman – Director of Digital Innovation, Sherry Nelson – Director of Davidson Arts and Creative Engagement, and Fuji Lozada – Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies. Twelve teams completed the challenge and competed for the following awards (with trophies designed and produced by Brian Little in Davidson’s makerspace, Studio M):
Best Communication: Team Manatees (Bryan Ortiz ’21, Hannah Cha ’22 and Taylor McFadden ’22) built a website that allows students and prospective students to reach out to other students or faculty, helping prospective students who cannot make a campus visit to Davidson feel like they have been here and connected with people.
Best Coding: Team Nineball (India Little ’19, Sarah Eisenach ’19, Elizabeth Sasser ’19 and Jose Balcazar ’19 (not pictured)) built a Davidson College-only dating web app, with the goal to encourage and enable more meaningful relationships among students on campus.
Best Overall: Team FICSIT (Marianna Ghirardelli ’21, Natalie Kucher ’19, Eleni Tsitinidi ’21 and Sarah Hancock ’21) highlighted women in STEM with a web site including a trivia quiz, a tool to match a student with a faculty mentor in a STEM field, and stories about women in STEM at Davidson.
Hackathons are known for their focus on learning new things, friendly competition, and fun. Davidson’s local version at The Hurt Hub was a big success in all these ways and more, by bringing the community together and giving back many innovative ideas and projects, several of which have already been adopted for further development and production.