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Honors Students win Award at University of California Berkeley's Hackathon

USF SCP From left to right: Maddie Collins, Muntaser Syed, Willie McClinton, and Jamshidbek Mirzakhalov. 

Founded in January 2018 by four USF Students, the Society of Competitive Programmers (SCP) Club was created to increase USF's national reputation as a hub for creative student innovators. Since its inception, the team has traveled both within Florida and across the country to compete at numerous hackathons, marking the first such experience for many members of the club.

This past November, the USF SCP club participated in “CalHacks 5.0.,” an annual student-run hackathon at University of California Berkeley. “CalHacks,” is the world's largest student hackathon with more than 2,200 student participants. As part of the competition, students team up in groups of four to work on a project idea that they are required to complete within the designated time period. In the end, a group of engineers from major technology companies, professors from universities, and potential investors judge the quality of the project by various metrics. Once judging is over, the best projects of the event are awarded with sponsor prizes, as well as job and internship offers. 

Four USF students attended this year’s competition, three of them being from the Honors College: Jamshidbek Mirzakhalov, Willie McClinton, and Madeline Collins. The team won “Best Payment Project,” for their work involving Authorize.Net, a payment platform that m any companies and startups use to enable customer payments in apps and websites. Authorize.Net was a sponsor for the event, and was very impressed with the USF team’s overall idea and execution.

Mirzakhalov, a junior majoring in Computer Science and one of the four founders of SCP, enjoys attending these events because he has the opportunity to network with inspiring individuals and leave with life-long friendships. “I want to work as a software engineer in the future and these people are like a community to me,” he says. “Once I graduate, these will be the connections I will be holding on to and interact with everywhere I go.”

SCP plans to attend many hackathons next semester, with the on-going goal of cultivating a spirit of programming culture and promoting innovative ideas at USF.

The USF SCP club was able to travel to the competition due to the generous support of Qualcomm and USF's Computer Science and Engineering Department.