CUNY Students to Compete in Lehman’s 24-Hour Hackathon

Lehman College and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) 2015 Hackathon on October 16 and 17, promises to be a 24-hour technology-driven marathon, where hundreds of students will compete and collaborate to develop new applications, games, and websites. The winners will be awarded cash prizes totaling $3,000 and all contestants will  have the opportunity to meet with potential future employers and mentors from prominent companies including IBM, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Pandora (who are are sponsoring the event). The hackathon allows students to showcase their technology skills in front of an audience of their peers and working professionals.

Hackathon participants get the chance to network and work on projects with likeminded techies from Lehman and other CUNY schools. The winning team receives $1,500, second place is awarded $1000 and third prize wins $500.

The nearly 200 entrants are almost double the turnout for last year’s inaugural hackathon. This year’s group of contestants are mostly computer science majors from Lehman, Hunter, City and Queens Colleges, according to event organizer and coordinator, Carol Gonzalez, a Lehman computer science major.

Competitors will be divided into teams of four to five students who will collaborate on projects of their own design. These projects will be judged by a team of professors from Lehman’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and representatives from Goldman Sachs and IBM. The teams will use their collective acumen to build solutions and solve problems around a common theme.

Gonzalez says the motivation for creating the hackathon was a sense that Lehman and other CUNY technology students were not getting the same opportunities as those from “bigger name colleges.”

“The main goal was to create awareness that students at CUNY could create wonderful apps and websites,” said Gonzalez. “We feel that CUNY is underrepresented and we wanted to show the companies the type of work we can do.”

Last year’s winning team created “Hack the Vote” a social networking game that was designed to motivate players to go to the polls and vote. The team was asked to build an app or website that would generate awareness for social change.

Lehman student Colin Morgan was one of the success stories at last year’s hackathon. At the 2014 event, Morgan met recruiters from Goldman Sachs and was offered an internship at the company in the summer of 2015. According to Gonzalez, he had such as successful experience at Goldman, that he’s been invited to return for a second internship next summer.

The hackathon will be held in the Music Building in the East Dining Hall.