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Develop an App at Huskie Hack

October 10th, 2017

Northern Illinois University’s third annual Huskie Hack, scheduled Nov. 4-5, is a contest lasting more than 24 hours designed to spark innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship. Focusing on the topic of health and wellness, teams of students will develop hands-on technology solutions to challenges related to mental health, aging, behavioral and population health, and chronic health issues.

Students will develop new mobile applications and innovative designs through creative uses of GIS, time art design, digital gaming, social science data, robotics and wearable technology. At the end of the event, teams will have the opportunity to present their solutions to regional judges and experts in healthcare innovation.

This free student-centered event is open to students from middle school to college age and will take place in the Holmes Student Center. Registration for the event is now open and will close Oct. 27.

To participate, coding experience is welcome but by no means required.

“With a challenge focused on health and wellness, we really have an opportunity — and a need — for interdisciplinary teams,” says Tracy Rogers-Tryba, the event coordinator. “A health and wellness Hackathon opens the door for those interested in the physical, mental, emotional and environmental aspects of health to partner with those who have coding, design or project management skills.”

Hackathon organizers will assist in grouping participants into teams at the start of the event based on their interests and skill sets. Then, participants will start hacking their ideas into reality, using hardware and software supplied by NIU STEAM Works. At the end of the weekend, teams interested in competing for prizes will present a demonstration of their project to a panel of judges.

Registration is limited to students with valid IDs from a middle school, high school or college. Those younger than 18 must have a signed parental consent form on file as part of registration. Participants must bring a valid student ID and their own computing device when attending the event. Dinner, breakfast the next morning and snacks will be provided to all participants.

Students work throughout the 24+ hours of the event. Anyone who needs a rest can snooze in the center’s atrium, but most participants prefer to stay up all night working on their design challenge or partaking in alternative activities, such as mini competitions, midnight bowling or workshops.

Community members with professional experience in health and wellness, computer science or engineering fields are encouraged to volunteer at this unique event. Community members can also stop by and observe what a hack is all about or attend one of the presentations or workshops that will be offered Saturday evening, Nov. 4.

Participants and volunteers are encouraged to register at by Oct. 27.

Huskie Hack is sanctioned by Major League Hacking (MLH), the official international student hackathon league focused on mentorship and support for students engaged in computer coding. In addition to winning prizes, participants can earn points that boost their school’s standings in MLH rankings.

The event is hosted by NIU’s Center for P-20 Engagement. For more information, visit or contact Tracy Rogers-Tryba at; 815-753-2090.