Computer science students convene at MSU for ‘hackathon’ to show creativity with technology solutions

September 25, 2017

September 22, 2017

Contact: Allison Matthews


STARKVILLE, Miss.—The student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery at Mississippi State University will host an inaugural “hackathon” this weekend [Sept. 23-24] for students to apply technologies in new and creative ways.

More than 200 students from 25 colleges – with MSU students comprising about half of the group – will work around the clock during the 24-hour event taking place in the Colvard Student Union. Students will develop an original project on Saturday [Sept. 23] and work through Sunday [Sept. 24] before presenting to judges that afternoon. Participants may bring their ideas but may not begin work on their technology project before the competition.


Called “HackState,” the event is “a sprint-like innovation and coding competition during which student teams will design and build incredible new computer-oriented projects, such as web and mobile applications or hardware integrations” according to student organizers. The competition is the first hackathon in Mississippi sanctioned by the official student hackathon league, Major League Hacking.

Charles Boyd, a senior MSU software engineering major from Madison, Alabama, said he hopes to see students “combine multiple technologies in a way that’s never been done before to create something totally new.”

Competition judges will include computer science faculty and sponsor representatives.


Boyd is part of a student leadership team organizing the hackathon that includes the event’s executive director and founder Natalie Larkin, a computer science major from Gaithersburg, Maryland; Kourtney Atwell, a computer science major from Hazel Green, Alabama, serving as operations and sponsorship director; and Amy Frances Farrar, an art/graphic design major from Amory serving as marketing director.

Donna Reese, MSU professor of computer science and engineering and ACM adviser, said hackathon participants will polish their computing skills with the goal of developing something innovative.

“This is an opportunity for them to really be creative with their skills and passions for computing,” Reese said. She added that the student organizers who have prepared for the event also have developed valuable communication and leadership skills.

“All of those things they’ve demonstrated in pulling off an event of this magnitude will serve them well as they go into the workforce,” Reese said.


For complete event details, visit

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