AT&T and Tech Corps recently joined forces to sponsor #TechCorpsHack, a regional coding competition — or “hackathon” — that provided underserved high school students from Columbus, Dayton and Zanesville with an interactive computer science experience and exposure to STEM.
The hackathon kicked off with events at Capital University (Columbus), Sinclair Community College (Dayton), and Zane State College (Zanesville) with 142 students participating across the three regions. During the day-and-a-half experience, students learned how to utilize MIT App Inventor to explore the world of mobile app development and were challenged to create an app that addressed the real-world problem of opioid abuse and addiction.
"The hackathon only solidified the love I already had for technology. What changed for me was the way that I thought about the opioid epidemic and the disease of addiction." — Hackathon participant
First responders and local addiction treatment specialists were engaged in each region to share their perspective on the opioid epidemic. In developing their apps, students utilized anonymous live chat functions with prevention specialists; GPS location services for first responders; and, call features that connected users to addiction hotlines.
Columbus high school students presenting their app idea to judges and peers.
Grand Prize-Winning Team – Liberation, a Columbus team, designed an app that tackled the opioid epidemic by providing anonymous chatting between two people, provided call features to addiction specialists and first responders, and provided testimonies from former addicts.
AT&T Ohio and Tech Corps were excited that a number of elected officials, city representatives and first responders were able to either speak to participants or participate as judges. Our thanks to City of Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler, Franklin Co. Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Rick Minerd, City of Dublin Chief Information Officer Doug McCollough, City of Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, Montgomery Co. Sheriff Phil Plummer and Muskingum Co. Sheriff’s Department Capitan Jeff Lecocq for joining us.
This first-ever #TechCorpsHack, which benefited from funding from the AT&T Aspire initiative, was truly a success, as students developed 21st century skills essential for college and career readiness. We’re hopeful it will serve as a model for a statewide competition in the future.
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