LMU Students Take Top Prize at Regional Hackathon

An all-female team of Loyola Marymount University students captured top honors at RoseHack 2020, a women-centric hackathon held at UC Riverside. Teams of high school students and college undergraduates spend a weekend networking, interacting with mentors, attending workshops and building their own tech-focused project.

Wordpress RoseHacks2 300x225 - LMU Students Take Top Prize at Regional HackathonMaddie Louis and Merissa Tan, junior computer science majors and Kaitlyn Behrens, a junior animation major — emerged victorious from a competition involving approximately 40 teams at the January event. The mission aims to encourage young women and other underrepresented groups in STEM fields to build networks and share their passions in science and technology.

The LMU team was awarded Best Overall Hack for China Shop Bully, a web-based, arcade-style video game in which players use their keyboard’s arrow keys to maneuver a bull seeking to “wreak havoc in the china shop while avoiding the shopkeeper.”

“I think the judges liked that we had a fully fleshed out idea and were able to present a finished project,” said Louis. Behrens and Louis were at RoseHack 2019, the first time the event was held and placed second overall and first in the Best Front-End Design category.

At the time of the hackathon, Louis and Behrens just enrolled in Game Development, an interdisciplinary course combining computer science and animation.

“We had only had one session,” said Behrens, “but we came back from the weekend and told our professor, ‘Hey we made a game!’”

Although the Game Development course just began, the students credited their overall LMU education with positioning them for success at RoseHack 2020.

Wordpress RoseHacks3 300x225 - LMU Students Take Top Prize at Regional Hackathon“In computer science we’re encouraged to work in teams, which really helps at a hackathon, where you are placed in time-crunched situations and have to split up the work efficiently,” said Tan,

Tan partnered with Louis to execute the programming using JavaScript — which they had learned in their LMU studies while assigning the artistic elements to Behrens.

The weekend left all three students feeling empowered by the realization that their academic experience was preparing them to succeed outside of the campus setting.

“Whether you win or not,” said Louis, “it looks great on your résumé to be able to say that you built a full-fledged project in 36 hours.”