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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

BroncoHack 2017 Sets New Participation Record

2017 Hackathon

2017 Hackathon

Stephanie Yau

The winning team at BroncoHack 2017.

One of the organizers of BroncoHack 2017, Stephanie Yau is a junior at Santa Clara University; she is majoring in Finance and minoring in Management Information Systems.

BroncoHack 2017, cosponsored by the Ethics Center, drew a record-breaking number of participants to its April event, in which teams of programmers created projects with a social justice theme. With a 50% increase in participants this year, the hackathon was a huge success.

Speakers from Make School and Melody Park from Major League Hacking (MLH) kicked off the event. Participants learned about the learning opportunities such as the Summer Academy from Make School and were energized to hear about the amazing hackathon opportunities that MLH, the official sponsor for student hackathons nationwide, supports.

Afterwards, teams used the breakout rooms and the classrooms in Santa Clara University’s Lucas Hall to create innovative projects that addressed social justice needs.

At 10am on Saturday, Professor Haibing Lu vetted each team’s program to ensure that each project was created during the 24 hours of the hackathon.

17 teams competed with their unique projects at the end of the 24-hour hackathon--almost tripling the number of teams who competed last year.

At 12 pm on Saturday, the judging began. The judges were Ray Martin, CEO and Founder of ALT; Jens Weitzel, Founding Partner at Yabusame Partners; and Rachel McCabe, Business Analyst at Cisco. Each team pitched its program to our judges.

The first place winners were Irvin Yip, Jennifer Earley, Ben Holman, Kenneth Go, and Joyce Chou from San Jose State University. Their team designed an app called SafeWord that is meant to battle sexual harassment by running in the background and performing a number of tasks (including shining a flashlight and recording) when the "safe word" is said, to collect evidence of a potential crime. This is a proactive measure for safety, especially on college campuses.

The second place winners were from Santa Clara University: Marco Gaspari, Julian Callin, Timothy Shur, Isabela Figueira, Juliana Shihadeh, and Isaac Sornborger. Their project was called Mellow Mind and was used to track mental health. It allows the user to talk into a phone that would dictate the speech of the user while also measuring his/her brainwaves, and the user would tell the machine certain parts of his/her day. By utilizing Watson's and Siri's API, the team members were able to map the user's mental health and give recommendation on how to better manage the user's mental health.

The third place winners, from San Jose State University, were Mohak Rastogi, Chris Chuck, Emerson Ye, Serena Pascual, Erin Yang, and Michelle Vu. Their project, called Surplus, tackled the problem of food waste. With their interactive website, they were able to link restaurants that had leftovers to homeless shelters in the area; the restaurants would either donate their food or sell their food at a highly discounted rate to the homeless shelters.

We are extremely grateful for all of our sponsors for making this event a success and we thank all of our participants for their creative projects.

For more about BroncoHack, please visit!

Apr 24, 2017


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