Students Develop Apps in Hackathon Competition

The MSU Spokesman

DSC_0488 Tables of Morgan students sit in front of computers in the McKeldin Center anticipating a challenge. Twenty students split into groups of four are surrounded by wires, computer mice and Subway cups. In a scene similar to one in hit tech movie “The Social Network,” students are getting ready for the second annual Hack-A-Thon at Morgan State. The mission? To code a complete mobile app in 24 hours.

The event was hosted by the Community Technology Organization (CTO), a group of local African American technology entrepreneurs looking to impact technology in the African-American community. William Mapp, owner of Maryland-based technology firm BA Systems prepped contestants for the showdown with a crash course in Android Development.

The event pulled in a diverse crowd of students from different majors and schools, including Coppin State University, Community College of Baltimore County and Prince George’s Community College .With a grand prize of $500 and office hours with a large mobile advertising firm, participants put on their competitive caps. In the end, the group “RFID Settings” came out as champions.

While many participants were Hackathon veterans, a few were first timers. “The experience was long, tiresome- it was fun and worth it,” says industrial engineer major Rodney Porter. “This time I know 16 bit instead of 24 bit. Overall we had a working game within 24 hours.”  With the brand new apps developed, it only makes sense to use them. “I’m working on [the game] to sell,” says Brandon Parker, computer science major and owner of ZSource Studios. Outside of the large prizes, students were also able  to interact and connect with local tech entrepreneurs. Hack-A-Thon gave minority students access to opportunities outside the campus, allowing them to become a part of the tech community.