Engineering Students Hack Their Way to Awards


Penn State Behrend students won five of sixteen prizes at HackPSU, a weekend-long hackathon held at University Park last fall. More than 600 students participated, including twenty-five from Behrend. Three teams took home awards:

  • Chris Andrejewski, Rachel Rattay, Mason Toy, and Xiaoyu “Allen” Zhou won first place in the IBM Watson Challenge and the Penn State COIL/EDTech Challenge.
  • Hozaifa Abdalla, Brandon Bench, Aiden Chiavatti, Daniel Lopez, and Manan Patel won the Optum Challenge to improve health through technology and second place in the IBM Watson Challenge.
  • Matt Benkart, Tyler Small, and Corey Zalewski won the HackHarassment Challenge, using technology to reduce online harassment.

RIT Hack Events

Penn State Behrend student teams also took home awards at two February hacking events at the Rochester Institute of Technology:

  • Mason Toy, Daniel Kovalevich, Conrad Weiser, and Vily Kolesnichenko won the #HackHarassment challenge at the university’s Brickhack events. They developed Omniclad, a chat bot/ moderator designed to streamline communication and help eliminate bullying and harassment.
  • Rachel Rattay, Allison Steinmetz, Katie Chuzie, Karlene McCleary, and Alexa Foo won two awards—most novel and best domain name—at the WiCHacks women in computing hackathon. The team developed KickHerassment, a workplace harassment simulation designed to create an awareness of types of harassment.