Points of Pride

Community+Technology+Innovation Hackathon 2023

Future Leaders Solving Real-World Problems

Community+Innovation+Technology Hackathon March - April 2023

The third Community+Innovation+Technology Hackathon was held Thursday March 30th to Saturday, April 1st within the Monte Ahuja College of Business. Students from Cleveland State University and Case Western Reserve University spent three days, brainstorming, ideating, prototyping and verifying technology solutions to solve real-world community problems.

“The value of the Hackathon is that it ignites leadership in the students that participate,” said Shilpa Kedar, Executive Director, Beth E. Mooney Center for Transformative Leadership and Co-Executive Director of the IoT Collaborative. “The Hackathon prioritizes collaboration, demonstrates commitment to equity, strives to be innovative and responsibly harnesses disruptive technologies for societal benefit.”

Students were able to ask questions of the problem presenters to clarify the problems or gain insight and then worked in teams to develop solutions Thursday night, all day Friday and Saturday morning.

The student teams pitched to the judges who were: Mark Anderson (digital marketing expert and serial entrepreneur), SIR Evans (TED speaker, Founder of Quality SIRvice & the Superpower Planner), Jack Kraszewski (Cleveland State University Director of Technology Transfer) and David Lupyan (Chief Executive Officer Lupyan & Associates).

“It is inspiring to see the work of these interdisciplinary teams,” said Dr. Patricia Stoddard Dare, Director, Women’s & Gender Studies, Co-Director, CSU T.E.C.H. Hub and Co-Creator of drughelp.care. “The Hackathon ended with ready to implement solutions to vexing community problems.”

Six Teams worked tirelessly to develop technology solutions.

Hackathon 2023 First Place Team

First Place Team: Unveiled

  • Bheem Reddy Gopanpally (Information Systems)
  • Sheiry Makara (Electrical Engineering)
  • Vishal Shailesh Mandalia (Computer Science)
  • William McCartney (Computer Science)
  • Kevin Wieder (Business)
Hackathon 2023 Second Place Team

Second Place Team: Mpower-ED

  • Jakob Danninger (Computer Science – Case Western Reserve University)
  • Somiya Faust (Nonprofit Administration)
  • Christian Horton
  • Darian Merritt
  • Teresha Sims (Alumna)
Hackathon 2023 Third Place Team

Third Place Team: Community Moms

  • Rushik Bandokar (MBA)
  • Fabio Hinojosa Jimenez (Computer Science)
  • Motasim Mohamed Sharief (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Micaela Tafur (International Business)
Hackathon 2023 People's Choice Team

People’s Choice Team: Ohio SAKT

  • Ramandeep Arora (Software Engineering)
  • Chandana Belly (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Pranav Dhinakar (Computer Science – Case Western Reserve University)
  • Suman Kumar (Computer Engineering)
  • Ashley Sah (Computer Science – Case Western Reserve University)
  • Charles Thompson (Computer Science)
Additional participants and teams included:

Connecting with Culturally Sensitive Care:

  • Pranay Kumar Gattu (Computer Science)
  • Sri Harsha Mittapalli (Computer Science)
  • Kartik Nesari (Computer Science)
  • Karan Thakkar (Information Systems
  • Togzhan Tolegen (Information Systems)

Infant and Maternal Mortality:

  • Preethi Chikkasiddegowda (Biomedical Engineering)
  • Namita Khandekar (Information Systems)
  • Anthony Leanza (Business)
  • Aidan Rosenbaum (Mechanical Engineering – Case Western Reserve University)
  • Sarwath Hussain Shaik Dada Saheb (Computer Science)

“All of the students that participated worked extremely hard throughout the three days of the event and should be commended for tackling the community problems that were presented,” said Colette Hart, Senior Director for the Centers for Outreach and Engagement within the Monte Ahuja College of Business at Cleveland State University.

The Community Problems presented included:

African-American Infant and Maternal Mortality

Presented by Dr. Heather M. Rice, Assistant Professor and Researcher in the College of Health’s School of Nursing and Birthing Beautiful Communities.

African-American women in Ohio are three times as likely to lose an infant before its first birthday than white women. The Ohio Department of Health has identified nine Ohio counties that account for more than 90% of all black infant deaths. Recent research suggests that toxic stress is the driver for poor birth outcomes in African-American women. Toxic stress is caused by chronic, overwhelming social and environmental conditions such as poor housing conditions, parental unemployment, lack of transportation, food deserts and a lack of diverse, culturally sensitive health care providers.

Providers can address the social needs of their patients by connecting them to community resources. What type of technology can be designed that better connects mothers to community resources and provides a follow-up mechanism that communicates back to the provider whether the mother has been connected to the resource and whether it has been useful.

Tracking and Compliance of Forensic Testing Kits

Presented by Rachel Dissell, Community and Special Projects Editor at Signal Cleveland and the Marshall Project and Dr. Rachel Lovell, Assistant Professor of Criminology and Director of the Criminology Research Center at CSU.

Hundreds of thousands of sexual assault kits have remained untested in the U.S. A kit consists of items collected by medical professionals to preserve evidence from a victim of sexual assault. Starting in 2016, all law enforcement agencies are legislatively mandated to submit all collected kits for forensic testing within 30 days. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office operates an online system to track the status of the kit testing and to make the information available for victims.

To date, there is no assessment of the implementation of this tracking system. Are kits being tested and processed in a timelier manner? Are law enforcement agencies around Ohio following the legislation? Are results being communicated back to victims and law enforcement in a timely manner? Is justice being served?

Factors That Hinder Black Students at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs)

Presented by Fayth L. W. Sims, Community Resident and Jonathan Wehner Vice President and Dean of Admissions for Enrollment Management and Student Success at Cleveland State University

The U.S. Department of Education reports that 7% of Black students attend historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and 53% attend predominantly white institutions (PWIs). Black college students have lower six-year college completion rates than any other demographic. A new survey found that cost and discrimination are largely to blame. The reasons for this attainment gap are varied, but Black students say the biggest obstacles they face are cost, a lack of extracurricular support and “implicit and overt forms of racial discrimination,” according to a new joint study by Lumina and Gallup. Feb 10, 2023.

The negative mental health outcomes of Black students attending PWIs has always been an issue. Indeed, experiences of being harassed, assaulted, oppressed, ignored, or silenced have a cumulative negative impact on health and well-being. This in turn, has the potential to impact educational outcomes. How can technology be leveraged to prevent or reduce these experiences or to intervene when they occur?

“I want to thank our presenters for sharing their stories and real-world community problems as well as our amazing team of mentors and judges,” added Hart.

Photos from the event can be found here.

Read the pre-event article here.