Pictured (from left) is Mana sponsor Troy Hickerson with Team 22 members Close, Bowen, Altvater, Balasubramanian and Thorne, and another Mana sponsor, Mark Shenfield.
SALISBURY, Md. - Four Salisbury University computer science students won first place in the "Code for Good" Challenge, a huge national competition sponsored by banking giant J.P. Morgan in New York City.
The students are Matthew Thorne and Brandon Altvater of Salisbury, Rob Close of Delmar, and Cale Bowen of Easton. They worked in a team of 6 with Richard Yadon from Rochester Institute of Technology and Sandeep "Sunny" Balasubramanian from Columbia, to beat out 24 other teams, with students from other major institutions across the country.
Their winning idea was a web-based social network application which aims helps nonprofit "MANA," which produces and distributes ready-to-use fortified foods to aid malnourished children in developing countries.
Matthew Thorne tells WMDT he stumbled across the competition application after a job fair, where he met with JP Morgan representatives. He found the application on the company's job website, and says that they applied to compete just in time to meet the deadline. Two weeks later, they were accepted from a pool of over 700. "It feels pretty good," admits Thorne, who adds with a laugh, "a certain amount of pride comes along with that, and I guess a little bit of shock, too."
His teammate, Brandon Altvater, explains what it felt like beating out about 140 students from some of the big name schools, "The whole experience was amazing just to be able to drive up to New York, see schools... We competed against Harvard, MIT, UCLA, Carnegie Mellon, Georgia Tech... And we're from Salisbury University. The chief operating officer didn't even know where Salisbury was or who we were. So it was nice to say, 'we're a business school and we have a computer science department.'"
Although the team isn't sure if their idea will actually be created and used to benefit MANA, the group members believe the experience will help open future internship possibilities for them and make them more viable candidates to potential employers.
Each winning team member received an iPad mini 32G tablet.
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