The Student Connection
The Student Connection

The Student Connection

HU Chosen to 'Create' at Microsoft Hackathon Event

L to R - William Brown, III, Gabrielle Buchanan, Dr. Thomas Mensah, Dr. Chutima Boonthum-Denecke, Lauren Patterson, C. Camerson Peele

Left to Rright - William Brown, III, Gabrielle Buchanan, Dr. Thomas Mensah, Dr. Chutima Boonthum-Denecke, Lauren Patterson, C. Camerson Peele

A group of four Hampton University students and a faculty member traveled to Microsoft headquarters to participate in learning and training sessions and the Hackathon League Series Competition, sponsored by the United Athletes Foundation (UAF) in partnership with Microsoft.

The UAF Be "U" Hackathon League is an event designed to leverage the talents and resources of the emerging collegiate community to enable students to create innovative technologies. The Hampton team was one of 12 teams selected for the opportunity to create innovative "Apps" with the support of advisors and mentor-coaches comprised of technology industry leaders.

"The students had a great experience, especially being it's the first hackathon organized by UAF in partnership with Microsoft," said Dr. Chutima Boonthum-Denecke, associate professor. "We selected two graduate and two undergraduate students from the Computer Science Department. We wanted the undergraduate students to gain experience and learn from graduate students."

Dr. Thomas Mensah, a world-renowned inventor with seven worldwide patents in fiber optics, was the keynote speaker. Mensah's message of increasing the number of minorities in STEM fields is an issue the department of computer science is actively working to address.

The goal of the UAF Be "U" Hackathon is to increase diversity in the tech sector and lead the search for young innovators who will develop the "NEXT BIG THING," officials said.

"The experience we hope our students gained from this event is how to work together as a team and how to get the job done," said Boonthum-Denecke. "They had to be able to learn new software and development tools within a short period of time, and how the business side significantly impacts the success of the software development, in particular to obtain the start-up funding."

UAF's President, Former NFL Star Reggie Howard, and Vice Chairman, two-time Super Bowl Champion Ray Lewis, where onsite for the event.

Matthew White '10