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2014 Hackathon

Cal Poly Hackathon promotes student entrepreneurship, innovation and imagination Students hard at work at the 2014 Hackathon. | Photo: Marya Figueroa

Cal Poly students from all disciplines put their creativity to the test at the second annual Design & Dev Hackathon, held on Feb. 8. Student groups came together to design mobile applications, websites and marketing options.

The 12-hour event, now in its second year, allows Cal Poly students to develop their entrepreneurial and technological skills by creating products and services that will make life better for Cal Poly and the community.

Putting together large-scale events like the Hackathon takes time, effort and patience. The Hackathon was made possible by the dedication and hard work of Graphic Communication Professor Lorraine Donegan who has organized the event both years.

The event kicked off Feb. 7, with 81 participants forming 23 groups and developing project ideas. The following day, Feb. 8, the teams worked against the clock to complete their projects, with experienced mentors on hand to guide them through the creative process.

This year the projects included websites that help users market their skills, recreational mobile apps, and video games. All of the projects are being perfected for public use.

On Saturday evening, Hackathon participants debuted their finished, or almost-finished, projects to a panel of judges.

Career Launch, created by Justin Witt (graphic communication) and Greg Givens (graphic communication) won Best Design Effort Award. Career Launch is a website to help graduates during their career search.

“We started this because, when it comes to jobs, you have to have one nailed down when you graduate,” Givens said.

The website will include an interactive design to make job-hunting more bearable. Career Launch users will see a rocket ship in the right-hand of the website page “fly up” as the user meets outlined goals.

Jody Lisberger made a profound impression on Cal Poly students and faculty

Another Hackathon group created Cloudy, an engaging mobile application designed solely to entertain. Users will be able to take pictures of clouds and then use app tools to draw over them to create a personalized image. Members will also be able to see the personalized clouds of other members and vote on their favorite cloud designs.

The Cloudy team was composed of Jordan Damron (graphic communication), Victoria Owens (graphic communication), Stephen Jue (biomedical engineering) and Brandon Bevans (computer science).

“With this app you can interact with the environment while still keeping your face in your phone,” Owens said.

The Hackathon also produced projects directly relevant to Cal Poly students. Jesse Pease (computer science), Julie Logue (graphic communication) and Jess Chaidez (graphic communication) formed a team to create RobLog, a digital logbook in which students can enter their required library hours.

RobLog was created for student athletes and Greek Life members who are required to study in the library for a set amount of time. The digital log will be connected to Facebook and display statistics, creating a competitive incentive to study.

The Hackathon not only caters to the tech lovers, but also to creative types. Shannon Reilly (graphic communication), Andrea Hernandez (graphic communication), Jacob Johannesen (computer science), Nick Nish (business) and Kyle Piddington (software engineering) came together to produce mobile app 575. The app will allow users to create and share poetry. The poems will only be viewable to people within a certain radius from where the poem was created.

“From my perspective it was a huge success,” Donegan said. “Most of the students who participated weren’t sure what to expect, but they truly enjoyed the Hackathon and feel like they would do another Hackathon if they had the opportunity.”

The Hackathon inspired many more innovative projects that exemplify the Learn by Doing skills Cal Poly students have to offer.

Sponsors of this year’s Hackathon were iFixit, EverNote, MindBody, Rosetta, Tap4More and Cal Poly’s College of Liberal Arts, Graphic Communication Department, Center for Expressive Technologies, and Kennedy Library.

The event was made possible through the collaborative efforts of Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and the Creative Media Development Club


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