Campus News

UGA College of Engineering to host student innovation award, NASA hackathon

Events are part of the university’s Thinc. Entrepreneurial Week

Athens, Ga. – As part of Thinc. Entrepreneurial Week activities at the University of Georgia, the College of Engineering will sponsor the first Thinc. Prize for Innovation on April 14 and will host the International Space Apps Challenge April 12-13.

Thinc. Prize for Innovation will be held April 14 at 6 p.m. in Room 102 of the Miller Learning Center. The campus-wide, interdisciplinary student competition will focus on collaborative innovation, entrepreneurship and problem solving.

Four student teams have been tasked with designing and building a Rube Goldberg machine, developing a business plan to market their invention and operating the machine to “start something” in the competition.

During a demonstration event April 14, judges will evaluate the machines for specific criteria, and audience members will vote on their favorites. The first place team will be awarded $1,500 and a trophy. Additional prizes will include a $300 award for audience favorite.

The event is free and open to the public.

Each team is comprised of UGA students who represent colleges and schools throughout the university. The teams are listed below.
• Team A: Joel Kern, Lamar Dodd School of Art; Avi Aronov, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences; and Bryan Durrett, Jay Barden, Glenn Fullington and Sara Sedlios, College of Engineering
• Team B: Brett Robertson, Terry College of Business; Wyatt West and Daniel Saunders, Franklin College; and Reginald Mosley, College of Engineering
• Team C: Jessie Johnson, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and Jake Johnson and Laney Joiner, College of Engineering
• Team D: Heather Huynh, Jessie Hu and Ha Troung, Franklin College, and Tyler Claxon, College of Engineering

Along with this event, the college’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers student branch will host the International Space Apps Challenge, a NASA Hackathon. A hackathon is an event lasting several days in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.

The International Space Apps Challenge will take place in communities all over the world, including UGA. NASA is leading the global collaboration along with a number of government entities and 100-plus other organizations. The UGA event will be held April 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on and April 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the Miller Learning Center’s fourth floor.

The problem-solving exercise has the goal of producing relevant, open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and in space. Students will choose from more than 40 challenges that cover technology in space, human space flight, asteroids, Earth watch and robotics. Prizes will be awarded, and teams can be nominated for the global round.

Thinc. is a university-wide initiative designed to encourage UGA students, faculty and staff to see the world of opportunities—both local and global—and to start something in response. That “something” might be a new for-profit company or a not-for-profit social venture that can change neighborhoods, towns or the world.

For more information about Thinc. Week at UGA, see For more information about the Thinc. Prize for Innovation, contact Ryan Adolphson at For more information on the NASA hackathon, see or contact Eric Refour at or Jenna Jambeck at