Over the last few years, we’ve seen app developers and technology tackle the toughest of challenges, from hybrid work to vaccine distribution to supply chain issues and more. We know there's more to be done—and we want to empower everyone to do it.
That’s why we recently held the first ServiceNow and HBCU Connect Hackathon with students from more than 40 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). More than 250 HBCU students—most of whom had never heard of ServiceNow—combined their diverse perspectives to help solve some of the world’s most challenging problems around healthcare, housing, generational wealth, digital literacy, and education.
The hackathon attracted students in many areas of study, including engineering, marketing, mass communication, and nursing. They took an impressive 80 hours of self-paced training while working jobs and attending school.
After six weeks of NextGen program training and certification in ServiceNow Fundamentals and the Builder Series, students formed small teams to build apps on the Now Platform®. They showed incredible ingenuity and innovation.
I’m proud to announce the ServiceNow and HBCU Connect Hackathon winners, whose apps were scored in five categories: impact, innovation, technology, function and performance, and presentation.
First place: Unite Now
Ogo-Oluwasubomi Popoola – Morgan State University
Anjolaoluwa Tope-Babalola – Alcorn State University
Opeyemi Fadipe – Morgan State University
D’Andrei Carson – Texas Southern University
Unite Now’s SameBlood application links blood donors to people in urgent need of a blood transfusion. The app pre-registers users with their blood type information. In scenarios of blood scarcity in hospitals, it contacts nearby pre-registered users to donate.
When asked about the experience, Unite Now member Fadipe shared, “We faced issues. We had bugs. Going through this journey as a group and with our mentors, we had to always believe in the possibilities. There is an endless limit to what we can do.”
Second Place: Swift Workflow
Eryn Hillard – Tuskegee University
Folusho Adeyemi – Fisk University
Temitope Olokunde – Southern University and A&M College
Stephanie Davidson-Malcolm – Western Governors University
Swift Workflow’s application digitizes the workflow for creating and accessing preference cards in surgical procedures. Preference cards are catalogs of specific tools, supplies, and surgical needs that surgeons require to perform a surgery.
The application works by letting the nurse manager create a preference card. The nursing supervisor then notifies the surgical team, which prepares the required equipment for the procedure.
Despite most of the team’s limited coding experience, they had to trust one another. “This is something my team and I had never done before,” Hillard said. “To be able to work through something we weren’t familiar with, grow through that, and then present in front of executives was amazing. At the end of the day, I had complete confidence in all of us."
The first and second place teams will receive $40,000 and $20,000, respectively. We also recognize the following groups for their outstanding entries:
3 Musketeers – app that pairs children with high school students to read books
GrabHouse – housing platform for student interns
Surgify – app that assigns medical equipment to doctors
Creating tomorrow’s leaders
Congratulations to the winners and participants for their incredible solutions! All of the solutions were inspirational, innovative, and impactful.
Students walked away with appreciation for the experience, especially the closeness they developed with their teams and mentors. Some students even applied and became ServiceNow interns.
“This is such a great way to develop, meet new people, and widen your network,” says Tope-Babalola from Unite Now. “There are so many opportunities that you can't miss out.”
The hackathon is an important example of our strong partnership with HBCUs and the role we play in building the next generation of diverse talent.
As my colleague Chris Rogers, head of platform diversity, equity, and inclusion at ServiceNow, says, “We must employ creative solutions to equip and diversify our talent pool. With that focus, we help narrow the disparity between underrepresented people’s access to careers in tech. Hackathons like this help bring us one step closer to that goal.”
Our current HBCU partner network includes Howard University, Tuskegee University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and Benedict College. The network will continue to expand. We look forward to the many opportunities ahead to expose students to a thriving future in technology.
Find out more about early career opportunities at ServiceNow.
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