CNY Hackathon – Going Virtual

Brodie Davis, a Software Engineer at Assured Information Security (AIS), challenges participants at the 2018 CNY Hackathon.

The CNY Hackathon, a bridge between area academic programs and our local workforce, pivots to an online format due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the last seven years, the CNY Hackathon has become a major event in the Mohawk Valley, aiming to improve computer science and cybersecurity education while more closely aligning academia with local industry partners. The event, a regional intercollegiate cybersecurity competition, is typically held twice a year at local institutions and has been a collaborative effort between Mohawk Valley Community College (MVCC), Utica College and SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

The spring event on April 17 and 18 will not be so typical. The CNY Hackathon event organizers came to a crossroads due to the coronavirus pandemic and decided to pivot to an online format.

“We have experience delivering the event online through a grant we received from the National Security Agency to run our version of the hackathon in the northeast region of the country,” said Jake Mihevc, Dean for the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at MVCC and CNY Hackathon Co-Founder. “That went very well last year and we’re confident we can deliver a great student experience this year as well.”

It’s not only important to the team that the event continues, but students and industry partners look forward to the event and realize how important it is to the local STEM community. This event, which fills up quickly with participants, allows students to see the practical application of their classwork and prepares them for the workforce.

“The CNY Hackathon is a bridge between academic programs and our local workforce,” said Mihevc. “Since it began on 2013, the event has created a strong community and we want to keep it alive and vibrant. We’ll miss the in-person interaction, but we’re excited about what we have planned for students to connect and challenge each other and for our industry partners who sponsor the event to connect with students.”

Sponsors of the event will be able to meet with students online and provide guidance, advice and information on how to submit resumes and apply. The support of industry partners has allowed the CNY Hackathon community to stay together for a spring event in an online venue. Sponsors of the event include: Griffiss Institute, Air Force STEM, Adeptus Cyber Solutions, Assured Information Security (AIS), Quanterion Solutions Incorporated, National Grid, PAR Government, NYCM Insurance, Packet, North Point Defense and Leet Cyber Security.

AIS has been a long supporter of the event not only as one of the sponsors, but by providing volunteers to challenge the participants. It’s not hard for AIS employees to get excited about volunteering at this event, as many of them learned about AIS through participating in the CNY Hackathon.

Brodie Davis is a Software Engineer whose path to AIS started while in college at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. He participated in the CNY Hackathon while in school and was approached by two AIS employees at the event about pursuing an internship. He began as an intern at AIS the following summer and was hired full-time before he graduated college. Davis is still actively involved with community events like the CNY Hackathon, and now represents AIS every year.

“Interacting with the local cyber community taught me the skills I needed to be successful,” said Davis. “It was through this hackathon that I was able to apply my knowledge and advance my skillset into a career.”

Charles Green, CEO at AIS, sees the value in supporting events like the CNY Hackathon, as these events align directly with the company’s mission.

“It’s incredibly important to us to push the cybersecurity industry forward,” said Green. “Not only is supporting local events like this a way to contribute to that growth, but we’re also helping to foster the next generation of STEM leadership in our community. It’s a great opportunity for us to recruit and show prospective engineers what a career in cybersecurity can really be like.”

The CNY Hackathon brings college students together from all throughout the region. It’s an effort that supports the development of our area by encouraging continuous learning and connecting students with local industry partners. Although the spring event will be different this year, the CNY Hackathon team is excited to keep the community they have built together.

“We have a number of students, faculty and industry partners who are very busy right now and have a lot of other things that they could prioritize,” said Mihevc. “But because this event does so much for our community and allows students to get the practical skills they need, everyone is stepping up to do things differently and ensure that the CNY Hackathon lives on.”

Event Information:

The two-day event will kick off on Friday, April 17, at 5pm with a series of security related presentations conducted by industry professionals. The competition portion of the event will begin promptly at 9am on Saturday, April 18 and run until 4:30pm.

Day 1: Friday, April 17, 2020, from 5pm to 8pm
Day 2: Saturday, April 18, 2020, from 9am to 4:30pm

For more information, visit:

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