Press Release: 2016 UVI #HackFest Winners Announced



Fifteen teams and over 40 University of the Virgin Islands students participated in HackFest 2016. Participants generated prototype phone apps in 24-hour marathon problem-solving sessions on Sept. 9 and 10, on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix and on Sept. 16 and 17, on the St. Thomas Campus.

Student teams, supported by other UVI students, faculty and NEARiX Corporation staff members, generated creative apps related to this year’s theme, “Health and Wellness.”

Now in its third year, HackFest would not be possible without the support of NEARiX, a St. Croix software development firm founded by Leon Hughes, CEO. HackFest participants are “all winners” said Hughes. UVI President David Hall was on hand to personally congratulate all of the 2016 HackFest teams.

“I am so proud of what our students accomplish in 24 hours,” said Dr. Timothy Faley, UVI’s Sokoloff Professor of Entrepreneurship. “But to me this is not about the product they produce; it’s about their own personal development. I see their confidence and leadership skills grow exponentially over the 24-hours of HackFest – that’s a fantastic thing to watch happen before your eyes.”

St. Croix Winner
This year’s “Best Hack” on St. Croix was awarded to the team comprised of computer science major Amali Krigger and business major Mackenzie Gross for their phone app “WhatUEatin?” The concept phone app allows you to upload your recipes and any chronic health issues you may have. The app offers suggestions for healthy substitutes for ingredients in your recipes. The social component of the app lets you connect with others and share recipes and healthy eating advice.



St. Thomas Winner
The “Best Hack” on St. Thomas was awarded to the team of Eliakin del Rosario and Jodie Dasent for their concept phone app “GourNet,” which will help you eat a more balanced diet by providing nutritional information about the food you are consuming. By either taking a photo of the food you are about to consume or verbally describing it, the app will search databases and return the meal’s nutritional information.

VI EPSCoR provided a UVI bookstore gift certificate to “$martFit,” which was developed by Michael Garcia, Natisha Hodge, and Tommy Wise. The app is a gamification of exercise app that motivates people to exercise by providing financial rewards. Sponsoring companies that also advertise on the app will provide gift certificates for achieving specific levels of exercise-related points.

The hackathons will be followed this year by a new software development competition called “Design Slam.” That program will kick off on both UVI campuses on Friday Oct. 14. During this months-long Design-Slam competition, the student teams will develop detailed click-able prototype apps or websites. Cash prizes and a trip to the national competition await the winners of this new competition, which is sponsored by the firm Social Wellth.

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