Photo of Jordon Bartos.
Jordon Bartos, president of the OSU Hackathon club.

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t stop the OSU Hackathon Club from holding BeaverHacks Spring 2020 on March 27-29. Seventy-four participants formed 17 teams to develop a website, app, or API on the theme of community building.

It was held online — the usual venue for the club’s events, since the organizers are computer science students in the online baccalaureate program. However, the global health emergency still had an influence on the event.  

“We had a lot of submissions that somehow tied to the pandemic,” said Jordon Bartos, postbaccalaureate student in computer science and president of the club.

Teams were judged by a panel of instructors and industry representatives. The club distributed $400 in prizes to the following winners:

  • First place: The Reading Room by Mae LaPresta, Elizabeth Tackett, Manda Jensen.
  • Second place: Where the Heck by Zach Tindell, Jeremy Binder, Chia-Tse Weng.
  • Third place: barterNow by Lifang Yan, Cameron Grover, Felipe Teixeira Groberio
  • New student category: Community Request Board by Jung Min (Judy) Lee, Wei Yu Tang, Angela Dimon.

All submissions are posted on the Hackathon website.

“It was incredibly gratifying to win, because the focus of our project was something all of us felt very passionately about,” said Mae La Presta, postbaccalaureate student in computer science. She was part of the winning team that created the Reading Room app to help foster a sense of community when social distancing has become the new norm.

Although the club was started by students from the online program, they welcome all Oregon State students. Bartos says his priority as president is to grow the membership of the club and raise awareness of their events. Future events could include collaborations with other clubs on campus.

“I feel pretty strongly about the benefits of the Hackathon club because when I competed in the first one, it really ignited something in me for coding in general,” Bartos said.

Participants say that learning new technical skills, building relationships with other students, and having the reward of creating something new were the main benefits of the experience.

“I was impressed by what everyone was able to accomplish by the end of the weekend. The presentations were incredible, and it was so cool to see what everyone’s ideas were,” said Manda Jensen, postbaccalaureate student in computer science.

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