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Virtual hackathon, panel discussion, benefit Columbus State students

Update | Monday, November 23, 2020

A picture of the people taking part in the Hackathon.

Above, The “Python Project” team participating in the Hackathon on November 7.
Top row, left to right: Andrew Campbell, IST student; Jeffrey Jay, Manifest Solutions; Kevin Woods, Manifest Solutions; CJ Gosset, IST student.

Bottom row, left to right: James Zhang, Manifest Solutions; Douglas Cueva, IST Student; Bakari Levy, Manifest Solutions.

Eighteen current Columbus State College Credit Plus students took part in a virtual hackathon sponsored by Manifest Solutions on November 7. Manifest Solutions has partnered with the College for several years to deliver in-person hackathons. Consultants from the company provided leadership to the day-long event. Participating students had the opportunity to contribute to open-source code using one of four programming languages: Java, JavaScript, .Net, and Python. This allowed them to apply and add to what they are learning in the classroom.

The day began at 8:30 a.m. with registration and a technical review.  From 9-10 a.m., participants enjoyed remarks from David Nowak, Information Systems Technology interim department chair, as well as Chris Judd, chief technology officer with Manifest Solutions.  During a lunch break, students took part in a facilitated panel discussion featuring three current Manifest Solutions consultants. Results of a post-event survey suggest that the day was well received by participating students, with all respondents indicating that they found the day to be very or extremely valuable.

“The benefit of such an event is that it provides students more than an entry on their resume,” said Nowak. “Through their engagement with the Hackathon and the outstanding consultants from Manifest Solutions, students are provided with the ground for new ideas, discovery, and skill-building. Students can engage in risk-taking with a low cost of failure while gaining exposure to new perspectives and views. These events further needed collaboration, team building, and the creation of community with others. Here, our students find a space to learn new concepts and ideas as they work together to solve specific problems.”  

Judd said, “Manifest Solutions consultants were able to help Columbus State students get comfortable contributing and making changes to an open-source code base they had never seen before. These skills will prepare them for their first day in a software development job. I like to think of it as a one-day internship. My hope is this won't just be a one-day event but a launching point for students to continue learning and contributions to open source.”

With plans for a low-density approach to on-campus activity, the event may be delivered virtually again in the spring. Members of Columbus State’s internal IT Services team ensured that virtual machines were available to any Columbus State students lacking direct access to required hardware and software. Additional project management and administrative support for the event was provided by the Office of Employer Engagement & Experiential Learning. 


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