Written by on March 16, 2015

Library student assistants win Hackathon with team

While you may know Cory Mayer and Johnson Zhou as two student assistants working in Library Information Technology (LIT) all the way up on the fifth floor, you may not know that they were a part of the winning team at this year’s Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s 2nd annual Design and Dev Hackathon.

The Hackathon took place on January 30 and 31. It’s an event where students of any major can spend 12 hours designing, implementing, coding and basically hacking away at any idea they might have for an app or website. Cory and Johnson’s six person team received $2,500 and four iPads as the grand prize for making their mental health app.

The winning app

The team created Optimist, a mental health app that helps stressed students feel more relaxed. Cory and Johnson’s teammate Alyssa Wigant came up with the idea.

The winning app at the Cal Poly Hackathon.

The winning app at the Cal Poly Hackathon.

“Johnson and I came with our own ideas, but we knew [Alyssa] was on to something and ditched ours to join her group,” Cory said.

To make the app, Cory worked with the server and did some coding, and Johnson coded the master app.

Work skills translate into winning-app-making skills

As student assistants working at Kennedy Library, Cory and Johnson mainly work with fixing and updating the Mac computers in the library. They fix both hardware and software problems and also work on printers and other devices in the library. They help people over the phone or in person. Because they mainly work with Apple devices, it gave them a better understanding of the platform.

“I was also able to get my hands on more Apple devices, some of the most advanced ones. This is the main reason why we worked on iOS platform for the project,” Johnson said.

Johnson is a computer engineering major and wants to work as a software engineer when he graduates. Cory is also a computer engineering major, and plans on graduating in 2018 with 4+1 program.

Other LIT student assistants who hacked for a win

  • Tyler Deitz, Kelsey Dodge, Chris Tayler and Emily Wang worked on Pizza Club, a mobile web app that alerts students to free food offerings on campus while encouraging users to go to clubs they might have disregarded. The idea won the Hackathon’s Gold Award for Best Design ($1000).
  • Kayla McCarthy was part of team Capeesh, an app that monitors student comprehension in real time and pushes data to a web application. Capeesh won the Student’s Choice Award ($500).

Read more on Cory Mayer, Hackathon, Johnson Zhou, and lit.

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