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MTSU’s inaugural Hack-MT is an instant success [+VIDEO]

The college students may have been quite exhausted late Sunday morning, Jan. 31, after working most of the preceding 36-plus hours trying to create apps, games, gadgets and more at the first MTSU Hack-MT.

But when Amy Henderson, director of organizational development for event sponsor LeanKit, asked the large gathering if they wanted to return next year and do it all again, they let out a resounding whoop — much to her delight, as well as that of Dr. Chrisila Pettey, chair of MTSU’s Department of Computer Science.

“Next year,” however, may instead become “this fall,” if the second Hack-MT event takes place in late September or early October as tentatively discussed.

The inaugural event drew more than 200 software developers, visual designers, programmers and computer science students from local universities, and about 300 people, total to the MTSU Science Building for the Jan. 29-31 opening ceremonies, dinner and VIP reception and weekend-long opportunity to invent new Web platforms, mobile apps and electronic devices.

https://youtu.be/7ngq-l8L3B0

Students from Belmont, Vanderbilt, Lipscomb, Fisk and other area colleges joined peers from MTSU for Hack-MT.

“This was pretty cool,” Pettey said while helping clean up from three days of students and industry mentors spinning their collective wheels for their computer creations.

Among the creative accomplishments were a travel app and MTSU tutoring and food service apps.

Vanderbilt University doctorial candidate Kate Brady, left, explains to Katie St. Francis of Hendersonville, Tenn., about the "Translation Practice" project she was involved with during the first Hack-MT Jan. 31 in the MTSU Science Building. Brady, who is from Durham, N.C., received a Chrome Book from Dell Computers as a door prize when awards were announced. St. Francis is product manager for LeanKit, the event's title sponsor. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

Vanderbilt University doctoral candidate Kate Brady, left, tells Katie St. Francis of Hendersonville, Tennessee, about the “Translation Practice” project Brady worked with during the inaugural Hack-MT Jan. 31 in the MTSU Science Building. Brady, who is from Durham, North Carolina, received a Chrome Book from Dell Computers as a door prize. St. Francis is product manager for LeanKit, the event’s title sponsor. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

The food service app, nicknamed “Hey, Waiter!” will provide users with estimated wait times for meals at MT Dining/Aramark venues on campus.

“It was an extremely successful project. We have a mostly finished product,” said Rookery Brauch, a junior computer science major from Murfreesboro. “We hope to add it to the MT Mobile App with a little more polishing.”

MTSU-based Star Jam team members earned the Gold Motherboard Award. The My Myo team, comprising students from MTSU and other schools, earned the silver for creating a sensor for a gesture-control armband. UT-Knoxville students, whose team name was “Mooch,” captured the judges’ bronze award.

“This absolutely exceeds any expectations I had,” said Henderson. “To see the energy level, the number of students who stayed, and the sponsors’ involvement, it was a positive event and great for the computer science community.”

Randy Davis, a senior from Franklin, Tennessee, whose computer science major includes a business application, said students received “a crash course for the last 36 hours, working with information and data.”

“It was an amazing opportunity to watch young people who understand technology and create apps that will move us forward in the future,” said Dr. Bud Fischer, dean of MTSU’s College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Hack-MT participating students share the results of their projects with judges and others attending the three-day, 36-hour event in the Science Building.

MTSU Hack-MT participants share the results of their projects with judges and others attending the three-day, 36-hour event in the Science Building.

A team collaborating on its project Jan. 29 uses a wipe board in the MTSU Science Building to their advantage. (Submitted photo)

A team collaborating on its project Jan. 29 uses a wipe board in the MTSU Science Building to their advantage.

Members of the Hack-MT Gold Motherboard Award-winning team "Star Jam" are shown with the plaque they received during awards' presentations at the conclusion of the first-time event Jan. 31 in the MTSU Science Building. Team members included Mitch Hauge, Steven Sheffey, Stephen Kinser, Milan Zanussi, Luke Stanley, Michael Murphy, Deeksha Adiani, Zach Yarid and David Chen.

Members of the Hack-MT Gold Motherboard Award-winning team “Star Jam” are shown with the plaque they received during awards’ presentations at the conclusion of the first-time event Jan. 31 in the MTSU Science Building. Team members include Mitch Hauge, Steven Sheffey, Stephen Kinser, Milan Zanussi, Luke Stanley, Michael Murphy, Deeksha Adiani, Zach Yarid and David Chen.