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150 students from across the U.S. converge on UTA through Feb. 21 for medical hackathon to propose solutions for cancer

Ndubuisi “Duby” Okonkwo, a UTA bioengineering pre-med junior with minors in Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics, speaks about his objectives with "Hack the Health"

Some 150 students from universities round the U.S. will converge on University of Texas at Arlington Friday for a three-day, medical hackathon to propose solutions for cancer.

Organized by Ndubuisi “Duby” Okonkwo, a UTA bioengineering pre-med junior with minors in Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics, “Hack the Health” will bring together students from different disciplines for three days of discussion around a specific problem related to cancer.

The UTA hackathon was inspired by previous medical hackathons at MIT and Stanford, which brought together multi-disciplinary teams to collaborate on issues around cancer and propose multi-faceted solutions.  

“We are hoping to start a chain reaction,” Okonkwo said. “We hope to pioneer a hackathon that the entire world looks forward to, that becomes something prestigious for students to attend, something that solves actual real life problems.”

The students will be separated into groups starting Friday evening and will present their solutions to a panel of judges early Sunday.

UTA’s Colleges of Nursing and Health Innovation, Engineering and Science are all sponsoring the initiative with faculty and staff members participating as judges and mentors during the event.

Kent Long, pre-health advisor, has been providing advisory support to the organizing team.

“The hackathon gives these students the opportunity to understand how healthcare works today, which is as a collaborative effort rather than the traditional silos of different disciplines,” Long said. ”Multiple disciplines will be represented at this event.” 

Students from Texas Christian University, UT Dallas, UT Austin, University of South Florida, University of Massachusetts Amherst, St. Mary’s University, Appalachian State University and Tarrant County College are expected to attend.

Their disciplines range from bioengineering, to computer science, biology, nursing, psychology, social work, math, Latin, physics, graphic design, business and healthcare administration. 

Presentations of solutions to judges are scheduled for 10 a.m. Sunday Feb. 21 at the E.H. Hereford University Center Bluebonnet Ballroom, 300 W. First St. on the UTA campus. A campus map is available online at www.uta.edu/maps/.

For more information and a full schedule, see: http://www.utamedhackathon.com.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie “highest research activity” institution of more than 50,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UTA as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.