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College of the Ozarks students participate in University of Missouri TigerHacks

PHOTO CAPTION: College of the Ozarks students and alumni won first place for their project, Transportal, in the University of Missouri Hackathon in Columbia, Missouri, on Nov. 4th-6th.

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — A group of 18 current students and alumni from College of the Ozarks attended TigerHacks, a 36-hour hackathon held at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri on Nov. 4-6. The students had the opportunity to create various projects and compete against area colleges.

Cheri Kembell, assistant professor of computer science, provided insight into the nature and importance of hackathons for computer science students.


“A hackathon is an event that is designed for computer science students to use technology and programming code to solve a problem or accomplish an objective,” Kembell said. “Typically, it will take place during a 24 to 48-hour timeframe. The students work day and night to accomplish their goals and present their completed projects to a panel of judges that consists of professors and industry partners.”


The following students placed first in the Startup Category for their Transportal Project: Seth Burton, Michael Maust (engineering alumnus), Luke Sharon (computer information sciences and accounting alumnus), and Caleb Stucky (computer information sciences alumnus).

The inspiration behind the project Transportal was to improve the daily lives of truck drivers in the transportation industry. The students created a portal where drivers could easily find different routes and truck stops as well as view how many parking spots are available at each rest stop.


“TigerHacks was a great time to push myself to learn as much as possible and apply it,” said sophomore computer science major Nathanael McClure. “It gives a good opportunity to show off what you can achieve and put it up against some of the best from the colleges in Missouri. I had a blast programming with my team and getting to show off our completed project.”


“Most employers want to hire students that have participated in at least one hackathon during their college experience,” Kembell said. “It helps build confidence, perseverance, and teamwork with all students who participate.”


Participating colleges are as follows:  

  • University of Missouri - Columbia
  • College of the Ozarks
  • Truman State University
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • University of Missouri – St. Louis
  • Drury University 
  • Missouri Baptist University


The students who participated in the event included: 

  • Caleb Stucky, alumnus computer science major from Brazil 
  • Jacob Jurgensmeyer, senior computer information science major from Montrose, Missouri
  • Joshua Ross, junior computer science major from Everton, Missouri
  • Keaton Terry, sophomore computer information science major from Clever, Missouri
  • Michael Maust, alumnus engineering major from Belton, Missouri
  • Trey Wilkins, sophomore computer science major from Blue Eye, Missouri
  • Caleb Iliff, sophomore computer information science major from Grove, Oklahoma
  • Noah-Eben Mwasanje, sophomore engineering major from Uganda
  • James Ferguson, junior computer science and biblical and theological studies: Christian apologetics major from Lowry City, Missouri
  • Nathanael McClure, sophomore computer science major with a history minor from São José dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil
  • Blaise Goze, senior graphic design major with a computer science minor from Rogers, Arkansas
  • Seth Burton, sophomore computer science major from Rolla, Missouri
  • Luke Sharon, alumnus computer information science and accounting major from Springfield, Missouri
  • John Werner, sophomore computer science major from Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii
  • Daniel Demmin, freshman computer science major from Alto Pass, Illinois
  • Nathan Bailey, sophomore computer information science major from Owaneco, Illinois
  • Philip Davis, freshman music ministry major from Bradleyville, Missouri
  • Landen Cuckler, sophomore psychology major from Fort Collins, Colorado

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