NIU holds first Hackathon

By Deanna Frances

The deadline to apply for NIU’s first annual Huskie Hackathon is fast approaching.

The hackathon, which takes place Sept. 26-27, combines team building and computer and coding skills to help students learn more about computer science problems, said Jacob Lawrence, public administration graduate student and assistant for the event. The application period ends July 31.

“Huskie Hackathon is a 24-hour event where computer students come together and work on important problems that local schools, businesses and hospitals want them to work on,” Lawrence said. “There’s going to be 300-350 participants in all.”

Students can join teams called Huskie Pact Hack Teams, each of which will choose a problem to work on that has been submitted by a local business, school or health care center. The event is open to high school juniors and seniors, as well.

“That’s what excites a lot of people,” Lawrence said. “This is going to give them a really good opportunity to meet a lot of corporate sponsors and do it with their friends and have a lot of fun.”

Huskie Hackathon will be monitored and judged by faculty from the NIU Computer Science department, said Nick Karonis, computer science department chair.

“The event is complex and needs a lot of hands and a lot of expertise,” Karonis said. “It’s significant in many ways. … Events like this give programming and coding a high profile and they become accessible to students before they even come to college.”

Students can register for free solo or as a team at