Students holding ukulele, one with a V R headset
Group of former UH students with a current student who were part of the Shoyu Ukulele Team. From left to right, Gerome Catbagan (not pictured), Bryan Tanaka, Gabe Farinas, Jayson Hayworth (all former UH students), and Dean Ramos (spectator). Seated are former UH student Catherine Sarte and current Leeward Community College student Christian Allen Buco. (Photo courtesy: AT&T)
2018 Hackathon judges David Lassner and Jason Leigh. (Photo courtesy: AT&T)

College and high school students were among the winners in the fifth annual University of HawaiʻiAT&T Mobile Tech Hackathon held March 9–10 at Sacred Hearts Academy.

The event drew a record 200 participants. Prizes totaling $8,000 were distributed in eight categories to teams who had just 24 hours to build an app.

Team Aloha won the best overall app grand prize of $2,500. The team built an app that brings old-fashioned postcards into the 21st century using an augmented reality app. Team Turretz, which included Kapiʻolani Community College student Mirabela Medallon, won the $1,000 first-place prize for best entertainment/gaming app with a 3D battlefield in which players defend themselves using turrets to ward off hordes of enemies. Six other teams, including one from Waipahu High School, won prizes totaling $4,500.

Governor David Ige and UH President David Lassner served as Hackathon judges. They were joined by UH Information and Computer Sciences Professor Jason Leigh and AT&T RAN (Radio Access Network) Director Bryan Ito.

“This is a great example of a collaboration that benefits our talented tech students and the state’s growing tech industry,” said Lassner.

“It was a great night that once again showcased the many talented students who make Hawaiʻi proud,” said Ige, who earned an electrical engineering degree from UH in the late 70s.

The teams had a mixture of creative talent and development skills. They created their web, Android or iOS apps from conception to implementation. Each team had three minutes to present their finished mobile app to the panel of judges. The theme this year was entertainment and gaming.

This is a great example of a collaboration that benefits our talented tech students and the state’s growing tech industry.
—David Lassner

AT&T sponsors the Hackathon in partnership with the UH information and computer sciences department and the Pacific Center for Advanced Technology Training, a consortium of the UH Community Colleges. AT&T also sponsors the event and provides the prizes.

Scott Robertson, professor and chair of information and computer sciences said participating in a hackathon is a valuable learning tool. “The students are outside their classroom comfort zone and find other people who compliment their skills. A hackathon reflects more of the real work environment and helps with their presentation skills.”

“Our partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi is part of the effort to encourage interest among our youth in technology,” said Carol Tagayun, AT&T director of external affairs.

UH student and past Hackathon winner Stephani Diep said it’s a lot of fun and a smart career move. “Recruiters notice these things. They say wow, you did a Hackathon, tell me about it,” Diep said. Diep, who graduates in May, has landed a position at Google.

Other key Hackathon partners include DevLeague, Hawaiʻi’s premiere software development boot camp, High Technology Development Corporation, Hawaiʻi Pacific University and Sacred Hearts Academy.