TigerHacks tests tech wizards’ mettle
From Oct. 12-14, Lafferre Hall was taken over by teams of students camping out for the College of Engineering’s annual TigerHacks competition.
The 36-hour-long hackathon tested students from all across Missouri to see if they could develop a functioning product in less than two days.
All of Lafferre Hall was filled with an intense concentration as groups rushed to get everything done. Clusters of students could be seen packed into study rooms and tucked away into corners as they privately discussed their ideas and worked to overcome unforeseen challenges.
The theme of this year’s competition was “Journalism and Media,” and teams had to create a program, application or any other innovative technology to solve one of the many problems faced by today’s media.
Melissa Hollingshed, the director of the event, hoped that this topic would allow for collaboration between STEM students and those in other majors.
“We have some classes where the IT [Information Technology] and the journalism students come together and collaborate, and I think that’s where the biggest influence came from,” she said. “We just want cross disciplines to happen here, so we’ve been getting that a lot.”
The difficulty of the competition lied in taking a project from ground zero to market ready within the 36-hour period. By the end of the competition, teams presented their work to the judges, who evaluated each project within the various categories.
Teams won prizes in the Developer, Beginner, Start Up and Popular Choice categories. Globo, a global news aggregator that translates articles into the user’s language, won first place in both the Developer and Start Up categories.
StanceCheck received first place for the Beginners with its ability to compile politicians’ stances on specific issues into one place. Then Tiger Event took home the Popular Choice award for its app that organizes all event information into one location.
In addition to the overall competition, tech talks were hosted to help less experienced programmers learn new skills, and sponsors were present to connect students with networking opportunities.
Austin Myers, a member of the event’s finance committee and senior Computer Science major, wanted TigerHacks to act as think tank for students to truly be creative.
“It’s more of like a social event as well. Obviously, we’re trying to get people to connect with one another, to be able to share ideas, [to] bounce things off each other and just generally make friends.”
MU Engineering student Jeremy Gonzalez and his team developed NÜZVÜZ, an app that allows users to find local news based on their location. While his group faced some challenges, he was glad he got the experience.
“In general, it’s really cool to make something in such a short amount of time. It gives you a lot of learning experience outside of the classroom, so that’s another good thing. It also looks good on your resume,” he said.
Overall, the competition was meant to foster innovation and an atmosphere of creativity for students to put their knowledge into practice.
Hollingshed wants TigerHacks to encourage students to continue developing their work.
She said, “I just hope that they’re inspired to do projects on the side more often rather than just for prizes and competition. I just want their resumes to get better, and they can get those top jobs that they want.”