Computer Science DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science

Code for Good

Two computer science students were on a team that took first place in the JPMorgan Chase Code for Good competition hosted in Tampa, Florida this month.  The competition is an opportunity for students to work in teams alongside JP Morgan’s coders to solve a technical challenge faced by one of two non-profit clients at the event.

Hugo Renzzo Olcese ’19 and James Cavanaugh ’19 worked on a project on behalf of Radical Partners, a non-profit that identifies issues impacting communities – such as hurricane relief or housing affordability – and helps local leaders accelerate change.  The organization struggled with sorting data from their Facebook page and tasked their Code for Good team to find a solution.

“After listening to each non-profit’s situation, our team had to figure out how to approach a solution, and what kind of technology – such as a website or app – to use,” Olcese said.

Working on an 18-hour deadline, Olcese and Cavanaugh collaborated with four students from New York City, Mississippi, New Jersey and Vermont, to design and build a prototype for a website that Radical Partners could use to easily pull and sort data posted by users, and create detailed reports.

“I think the most important thing I gained from this experience was learning how to work in a very high-pressure environment,” Cavanaugh said.    “There was an immediate deadline to code and develop the solution and no time for sleep.  My teammates were relying on me (and I was relying on them) to get each part working.”

This year, more than 2000 students applied to compete in one of six Code for Good competitions hosted nationwide. Sixty-five students were accepted for the Tampa competition.   Applicants were required to have a GPA of 3.2 or higher and selected based on their interest in software engineering and coding.

“This competition showed me how well I can perform under pressure and how well I can work with others to organize and complete a large project,” Olcese ’19 said.  “It was an unbelievable experience.”

Both Cavanaugh and Olcese plan to pursue graduate degrees in computer science or cybersecurity immediately after graduation.

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