Marathon Day of Hacking at Kean University Spawns Innovation


Over 100 college and high school students gathered in Kean University’s North Avenue Academic Building April 1 - 2 for the third annual HackKean event. HackKean, a student led initiative, was organized by Kean computer science students Jonathan Rodriguez of Edison, Luigi Vincent of Union and Rishbh Rana of Branchburg.  First place was awarded to Kean University student Victor Jacobson of Springfield and Middlesex County College student Ganapati Tirumalareddy. Jacobson and Tirumalareddy used the LeapMotion platform to develop a multiplayer gaming experience.

HackKean serves as a way for undergraduate students at Kean and neighboring universities to meet sponsoring companies, network among themselves and build something they can be proud of,” said Vincent. “It is a 24-hour "invention marathon" open to all majors where teams of 1 to 4 people plan, design and program an application that solves a problem, simplifies an existing process or employs new technologies and ideas in unprecedented fashion.”

Over 20 unique software and hardware projects were developed at HackKean this year, including gaming deliverables and virtual reality (VR) applications. HackKean also featured a variety of workshops and lectures exploring game development, web applications and computer security.

The hackathon was co-sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) with support from Major League Hacking (MLH) and Viacom.  Kean University’s Student Organization, including Stephanie Faser and Lori Prodeline, and Dr. Austin Huang, of the School of Computer Science, worked with the students throughout the year developing the plans, workshops and speakers for the event.

Students from Kean University, Montclair State, Rutgers, Rowan, Princeton, NJIT, Rowan, NYU, Drexel, the University of Maryland, Seton Hall, Carnegie Mellon, Northeastern University and the University of Pennsylvania competed alongside students from local high schools, including Elizabeth High School, Cranford High School and Roselle Park High School, at the event.

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