Recap | George Hacks Fourth Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon

On January 16th George Hacks hosted its Fourth Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon. For twenty-four hours, 62 participants worked diligently with their teams to design innovative solutions for their chosen problem statement. After which, each team presented their pitches to a group of judges who determined the winners of the competition! 

Similar to our previous events this year, our Medical Solutions Hackathon was hosted virtually to ensure the safety of all our participants during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was George Hacks first virtual hackathon and our team worked tirelessly to ensure that we hosted the best event possible for all participants. 

The event began with our Opening Ceremonies starring Tammy Landeen as our keynote speaker. She is an incredible individual that is directly impacted by health innovation in her daily life. Tammy is a U.S. Army Veteran and Quality of Life + Challenger, who unfortunately sustained a severe spinal cord injury in 2002 while horseback riding. This injury left her paralyzed and wheelchair-bound. However, despite the challenges she faced, Tammy lives life to the fullest and continues to work with engineers to come up with innovative solutions to any problems she faces. Following her speech, participants were presented with problem statements from representatives of various healthcare organizations. New this year, the pitches are places in one of three tracks: 

  1. Assistive Technology. Pitches under this track inspire the development of assistive devices and software to aid providers and patients with effective diagnosis and/or rehabilitation.
  2. Telemedicine. Pitches under this track bring awareness to the challenges faced by healthcare providers who wish to shift their medical practice to a remote setting, especially in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Communication. Pitches under this track motivate solutions to facilitate better communication across the local medical community network so that patients can access care and resources in the most efficient way possible.

While working on their designs, participants were able to book consultations with one of 13 amazing mentors who assisted them in their design and business model plan. In addition to our mentors, the George Hacks team also hosted workshops for students to develop new skills relevant to their projects. These workshops included 3D Modeling, Lean Innovation, Signal Processing, an Introduction to Raspberry Pi, How to Pitch Your Idea, and Machine Learning. To accommodate any time zones or technical difficulties that participants may have, all workshops were recorded and available for teams to review later. In addition to our workshops, the team also hosted three fun activity sessions such as baking night, a game night, and origami! 

Tammy Landeen – Keynote Speaker

The next day of the competition was composed of two rounds of judging; a demo round and a pitching round. For the demo round, teams were asked to create a video explaining their design solution to demonstrate their projects and how they came up with a solution for their problem statement. The pitching round, on the other hand, was a live presentation in front of the judges in which teams were able to present their business plans for their solution. The winners of the competition were selected based on their cumulative score from both rounds of judging. 

At the end of the competition, we held our closing ceremony in which the Best Overall, Best Demo, and Best Pitch winners were announced alongside our spot prizes for the AI Implementation and Video Creativity. 

Below are our  winning teams and their project proposals:

  1. Best Overall: Team Creative – Project MedLink
    1. Team members: Mohammad Bappy Chowdhary, Maria Luiza Seixas, Nathan Lu, Debabrata Panigrahi
    2. People who are deaf or hard of hearing (DHoH) experience barriers when accessing healthcare in emergency situations. Their solution to this problem is MedLink, an interactive app that translates ASL to text or speech, and vice versa. This app would allow doctors, surgeons, and any other hospital/company representatives to directly communicate with members of the DHoH community without requiring translators. 
  2. Best Demo: BME Freshies
    1. Team members: Lexi Carmine, Brooke Wilson, and Jackson Lamb
    2. A self-operational, easy to use retinal imaging device that can be adapted to smartphone models for the purposes of remote patient image examinations. More specifically this device would allow patients to capture clear retinal images from home and send it to their physician to examine rather than going to the clinic/hospitals to get them done. 
  3. Best Pitch: Baby Got Hack – TeleRet
    1. Jasmine Barash, Kathryn Jaroszynski, Ban Shoukeir, Yahaira Torres
    2. A professional retina exam consisting of an interactive app paired with an attachable smartphone lens. The patients can use the lense to take images of their eyes from home with their phones. The paired app is used to  ensure that the images taken are of satisfactory quality for a proper examination to be conducted. Additionally the app features patient-doctor video calling.
  4. AI Implementation: Bit Care – ExerciseAI
    1. Amit Patel and Ajay Kumar
    2. Head and neck cancer patients receiving radiation therapy need to perform exercises in order to prevent atrophy in their jaw muscles. ExerciseAI is a mobile app that uses AI technology to guide patients through a set of exercises as well as track their progress. 
  5. Video Creativity: RETiNA
    1. Grantt Meredith and Luisa Ribadeneira
    2. A telehealth visual acuity mobile application that when paired with a headband offers increased easy use for patients to take images of their eyes using their phone. The app would convert the raw image of the patient’s eye and create a focused image with an alignment confirmation and pupil measurements that the doctors and nurses can use to perform the necessary ocular image analysis
Best Overall Team – Team Creative

Lastly, Dean Lach, Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences delivered the closing remarks followed by Lex McCusker, the Director of the GW Student Entrepreneurship Program who talked about the New Venture Competition 2021. The New Venture Competition (NVC) is one of the largest collegiate competitions nationwide. With over $500,000 in prizes, students have the opportunity to compete in one of three tracks and jump start their entrepreneurial ideas. We highly encourage all of the hackathon participants that are eligible for this competition to join this amazing opportunity. The deadline to sign up is February 3rd at 1 pm! Even if you didn’t win a prize, submit your idea for a chance to participate in workshop opportunities and collaborate with mentors to polish your design and business model. 

Although the virtual nature of this event brought forth its own set of challenges, it allowed us to expand our reach internationally! This year’s hackathon had participants from around the world. We had participants from Dubai, India, Brazil, Canada, Russia, and Saudia Arabia! 

George Hacks will like to thank all of our event sponsors and partners who helped make this event happen. A special thanks to all of our judges, mentors, and volunteers for their time and support over the course of the weekend. Last, but not least, thank you to our impact-driven participants without whom this event would not have been the success that it was. We hope you continue to support and participate again next year in our Fifth Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon.

[collage of all other images from the event]

George Hacks Fourth Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon Coming Soon!

In less than two weeks George Hacks will host its fourth annual Medical Solutions Hackathon this January 16th-17th, 2021! Our team has been working tirelessly throughout the last few months in order to make this event even more exciting than our last and we can’t wait to see what innovative projects teams will come up with! Here are a few things to look forward to!

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the hackathon will be a fully virtual event hosted on Discord and Zoom. Discord will be organized into several servers with channels for participants to navigate throughout the event. Here participants will get a chance to introduce themselves and meet other participants as well! For those without a team, this would be an opportunity for them to potentially meet their other team members that they would want to work with. 

George Hacks is also honored to have Tammy Landeen as our keynote speaker this year. Tammy is an incredible individual that has overcome many obstacles through her determination and grit. She is an Army Veteran and Quality of Life + Challenger who served as a Tactical Power Generation Specialist in the US Army. Unfortunately, after sustaining a severe spinal cord injury in 2002, Tammy was left wheelchair bound. Despite the difficulties she faced, Tammy lives life to the fullest and continues to work with engineers to improve her quality of life everyday. 

In addition to Discord, students will also be able to make introductions  during our pre-hackathon workshops and activities. Led by our George Hacks team members, three workshops and a baking night will be hosted before the hackathon begins. These workshops will be crash courses on a variety of skills, both business and technical, that teams may utilize during the brainstorming and/or pitching stage of the competition. These sessions will be a low stress environment for participants to learn new skills, get to know each other, and ask any questions that they may have. 

During the hackathon, we will also host three other workshops and two more activities for participants to join. For more information on the schedule keep a look out on our Instagram page (@george.hacks) or join our Discord channel! All sessions will be available as recordings to participants to access at any time during the competition. 

New this year, George Hacks is introducing tracks for the first time! Each pitch that we have received has been placed in one of three tracks. Participants will be able to select a track to work on and generate solutions based on the pitches presented within each track! The three tracks are as follows; 

  1. Assistive Technology. Pitches under this track inspire the development of assistive devices and software to aid providers and patients with effective diagnosis and/or rehabilitation.
  2. Telemedicine. Pitches under this track bring awareness to the challenges faced by healthcare providers who wish to shift their medical practice to a remote setting, especially in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Communication. Pitches under this track motivate solutions to facilitate better communication across the local medical community network so that patients can access care and resources in the most efficient way possible.

These are just some of the things our team has worked on the last few months. There are many more surprises in store so be sure to sign up for the hackathon if you haven’t already! Follow our Instagram for updates and check out our FAQ page if you have any questions. 

George Hacks Kogan Makerweek 2020 Recap

Two weeks ago, George Hacks hosted Kogan Makerweek 2020 (October 11th-17th)! Traditionally held as our Annual Kogan Makerspace on the George Washington University campus, this year’s event mirrored the virtual learning environment that many students were required to adapt to in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even through a fully virtual event, our goal was to provide an interactive platform to inspire impact-driven innovation in our community.

So what did our biggest event of the fall semester look like this year? Over the span of a week, our team connected with students through various digital tools in a series of hands-on activities, interactive workshops, and innovation challenges. Each session of programming was geared towards encouraging students to adopt the entrepreneurial “maker mindset” in a fun, engaging, and low-pressure environment, with numerous opportunities to win prizes!

To kick off our Makerweek, we invited Dr. Poh Shen Loh, a math professor at Carnegie Mellon University, to chat with us about his experience as a rising social entrepreneur. As founder of innovative learning platform, Dr. Loh very recently shifted his entrepreneurial focus towards developing NOVID, a COVID-19 application that generates pre-exposure notifications based on contact tracing in social networks. In addition to narrating his story, Dr. Loh generously shared his personal insights and tips for young student entrepreneurs looking to make a change in the world.

After our conversation with Dr. Loh, our event switched gears to bring the makerspace directly to students at home. Through several hands-on activities demoed over Zoom, our team introduced attendees to some of the technical concepts that drive modern innovation, such as basic electronics and energy principles. These follow-along DIY activities included a pen stylus, electric play-doh, a coin battery, a simple motor, a rubber band powered car, and a balloon powered car. Check out some of our student creations from the first day of Kogan Makerweek below!

In each of the subsequent days of Kogan Makerweek, we presented students with a hands-on workshop or innovation challenge. Our three beginner-friendly workshops on 3D modeling, circuits / Arduino, and entrepreneurship each saw fantastic participation from attendees. Featured below are some of the things students were able to make learning a new skill / software for the first time!

In addition to the live sessions, our team was also thrilled to see the creative solutions to the various innovation challenges that we released throughout the week! Showcased here are (left) a makeshift boat constructed from cardboard and duct tape and (right) a custom mailing label for George Hacks!

To wrap up Kogan Makerweek, our team reviewed an outstanding portfolio of student submissions for each of our prize opportunities! Congratulations to the following prize winners:

  • 3D Modeling Workshop Raffle
    • 3D Pen Kit: Yahaira Torres & Jerome Thompson
  • 3D Modeling Workshop Best Design
    • Roku Streaming Stick: Jerome Thompson
  • Circuits / Arduino Workshop Raffle
    • Belkin Smartphone Charger: Brittany Underwood & Sarah Coloma
  • Circuits / Arduino Workshop Best Design
    • Arduino Uno Starter Kit: Jerome Thompson
  • Entrepreneurship Workshop Raffle
    • Tile Pro Stickers: Ban Shoukeir & Cordelia Scales
  • Scavenger Hunt Random Drawing
    • $95 Allbirds Digital Gift Card: Brittany Underwood
  • Makerweek Challenge #1: Makeshift Boat
    • AboveTEK Laptop Desk: Brittany Underwood
  • Makerweek Challenge #2: Address Label
    • Amazon All-New Echo Dot: Sarah Coloma
  • Social Media Trivia Questions
    • $5 Gift Cards: Jillian Adams, Ban Shoukeir, Isaiah Perantes, Sarah Coloma, Cordelia Scales, Gabi Petrillo, and Justina Pruski

Coming soon: Our next big event will be our Fourth Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon to be hosted January 23rd-24th, 2021. Be sure to be on the lookout for more information about how we’re planning to adapt our flagship medical hackathon into a virtual event!

George Hacks Sets Goals for a New Academic Year

Recently, George Hacks has formulated three goals we hope to achieve in the next academic year of 2020-2021. Our objective with these goals is to improve our presence both on and off the GW campus, with both students and partners alike, while promoting an impact-driven, entrepreneurial mindset to healthcare innovation.

Our three goals are as follows:

  1. Integrate a hands-on technology experience for students
  2. Begin an initiative to collect healthcare projects year-round
  3. Increase engagement within GW and in the DC community

So how do we plan to achieve these goals?

  1. New to George Hacks this year is our Technical Team. Our Tech Team will have the capacity to improve the management of technical supplies at our events. For Kogan Makerspace, they will focus on developing activities that allow students of all majors and backgrounds to discover the technical workings of innovation. In addition, we will now be able to provide better support and resources for participants to include beginner-to-intermediate level technical skills to any project at our Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon.
  2. As a way to improve the hackathon experience, we have already created a publicly-available pitch collection form through which our network of professors and partners can submit ideas they would like to see students work on. From this initiative, we hope to be able to provide students with a larger and more diverse collection of healthcare problem statements to choose from that align with their interests and passions.
  3. Lastly, we hope to accomplish our final task of growing our presence within and outside GW by establishing new partnerships and collaborations with local-to-DC schools and nonprofits. Through this, we hope to leave a larger impact on society by empowering a new generation of healthcare innovation changemakers inclusive of all members within our regional community.

These are just three of the overarching goals we developed to guide our work for the upcoming year. However, we’d also love to hear from you! Comment below with suggestions on how George Hacks can further our impact in the community! We hope you all are just as excited as we are to see how these initiatives will improve your experience at our events!

Recap | George Hacks Third Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon

The George Hacks Third Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon commenced on the morning of Saturday, January 25th. Beginning at noon, 18 teams worked to devise a solution to one of 12 problem statements pitched by a local healthcare organization. Only twenty-four hours later, teams demonstrated and pitched their solutions for the chance to win prizes.

George Hacks Medical Solutions 2020 Recap Video

The event began with Opening Ceremonies featuring Rob Jones, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran whose inspirational journey as a double-above-the-knee amputee led him to submit an innovation challenge at the 2019 Medical Solutions Hackathon. Following his keynote speech, representatives of various DMV healthcare organizations presented their problem statements to participants. Soon after, participants formed teams of up to four students and decided upon the challenge they wanted to pursue over the next 24 hours.

Rob Jones | Opening Ceremonies Keynote Speaker

In working through their challenges, students were able to consult with experienced mentors, utilize technical materials, and attend workshops relevant to their projects. Arduino, Raspberry-Pi, 3D Modeling with Fusion 360, and Application Development Workshops allowed teams to integrate a technical aspect into their solutions while a How-to-Pitch-Your-Idea Workshop provided tips on effective communication of those solutions to in a typical entrepreneurial setting.

As the event proceeded into the night, participants found opportunities to break from their projects, including networking with pitch presenters and mentors, grabbing free food from the snack table, attending a free yoga session, and destressing through a midnight nerf gun tournament! A few persistent teams stayed the night adding the final few finishing details to their projects in preparation for the next morning.

Early on Sunday, January 26th, teams prepared for two rounds of judging. The first round was a demo round, in which students were tasked to demonstrate their prototype and/or explain the technicalities of their methods to solve their selected problem statement. Closely following the first judging round was the pitch round, which focused more heavily on the marketability and business plan of each team’s venture. Based on the scores from both rounds, teams were now in the run to win big.

Closing ceremonies saw the presentation of awards to the three highest overall scores as well as two spot prizes, one for Best Implementation of Hardware and another for Best Pitch. GW President Thomas Leblanc delivered closing remarks followed by final comments from the GW Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, GW Technology Commercialization Office, and the GW Innovation Center.

President LeBlanc | Closing Remarks

George Hacks would like to acknowledge our event sponsors and partners as well as our judges, mentors, and volunteers for their time and support. Thank you also to our participants who made our event a resounding success. We look forward to seeing you again next year at the George Hacks Fourth Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon in 2021!

Special thank you to our Medical Solutions 2020 sponsors & partners!

For a more detailed event summary, feel free to download our post-event booklet below!

Recap | George Hacks 2019 Kogan Makerspace

George Hacks hosted its Second Annual Kogan Makerspace event two weeks ago on Wednesday, October 9th, an event showcasing the growing innovation ecosystem at GW.

A pop-up event in the main plaza at the George Washington University, Kogan Makerspace featured several activity stations, free George Hacks SWAG and drinks, our tabling partners, and even a competition to win a free Bluetooth speaker.

At the stations, students were immersed in hands-on activities in order to gain insight into some of the tools available for ideation, creation, and innovation. Students could print designs and objects with 3-D printing pens, play songs on a floor piano, make their very own circuit, write their ideas about change on a collaborative think board, and even take home a do-it-yourself heart sensor for a chance to win a wireless speaker worth $100.

Along with the various activities, participants were able to interact with our tabling partners involved with innovation and entrepreneurship on campus, including GW Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, GWupstart, GW Data and the Veterans Health Administration. Our partner organizations informed students about their organizations and the resources they made available to students.

George Hacks 2019 Kogan Makerspace Tabling Partners

Students were also able to converse with members of the George Hacks team to learn more about our resources and network.

The next major George Hacks event will be our Third Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon on January 25th-26th, 2020, a 24-hour interdisciplinary healthcare-focused hackathon open to students of all majors.

Recap | George Hacks Year in Review Social

As the Spring semester came to a close, we enjoyed bringing the George Hacks community back together once more to share this year’s progress, talk about our future plans, and express our gratitude for people’s contribution to George Hacks.

The George Hacks Year in Review Social was held on Thursday, May 2nd in B1 of the GW Science and Engineering Hall.

The team enjoyed indulging in some hors d’oeuvres and desserts while mingling with participants, GW faculty, mentors, and sponsors.

Thank you to everyone who attended and for making this year such a huge success!

Recap | 2nd Annual Medical Solutions Hackathon

At 9:00 AM sharp on January 26th, students began filing into the B1 Level of SEH for the 2nd Annual George Hacks Medical Solutions Hackathon. Undergraduates signed up for the promise of an intellectual challenge, a chance to showcase their skills, and of course, free food.

This year, 80+ students divided into 20 teams to tackle real-world challenges from an expanded network of healthcare organizations. George Hacks partnered with the Veterans Health Administration and collaborated with Quality of Life Plus, OpenEMR, GW Hospital, and others who brought problems ranging from prosthetic modification, on-campus food insecurity, veteran health care, healthcare access, and more.

Teams presented their solutions in two rounds of judging, one round for technical qualifications and the other to evaluate the product in its intended market. The students exceeded expectations, making the event an absolute success, showcasing George Hacks’ mission of healthcare innovation for social impact.

Check out our recap video!


84 Participants | 55 Judges & Mentors | 8 Partners | 10 Sponsors


Best Overall: We’re Working On It

Team Members: Sydney Bailes, Camille Daszynski, Mateusz Gierdalski, Jared Kern

Pitch Title: Adapting prosthetics for uneven terrain, provided by Quality of Life Plus

Best Demo: Handicycle

Team Members: Emily Cheung, Shubham Gupta, Elizabeth Fischer, Elias Ross Trupin

Pitch Title: Prosthetic Leg Holder for Handcycle, provided by Quality of Life Plus

Best Pitch: Bioelectric

Team Members: Lujain Al-Khawi , Matt Taylor, Ji-Eun Kim, Karen Rius

Pitch Title: Adapting prosthetics for uneven terrain, provided by Quality of Life Plus

Best Demo Runner-Up: Avengineers

Team Members: Shirali Nigam, Bianca Karpinecz, Jillian McGough, Trish Mikolajczyk

Pitch Title: ‘Getting Up’ alert for geriatric patients, provided by Christina Prather, MD (GW Hospital)

Post-Event Booklet


Recap | George Hacks partners with Lantuun Dohio for Human Trafficking Hackathon

Earlier this month, George Hacks wrapped up its first major event of the year, a two-week human trafficking hackathon in partnership with nonprofit organization Lantuun Dohio.

Lantuun Dohio was established to eradicate human trafficking and protect children from violence and exploitation in Mongolia. Their main approach is to work with children in vulnerable areas and foster self-worth and respect in their minds from a young age.

George Hacks and Lantuun Dohio are challenging GW students to work together to develop solutions in innovation marathon. The hackathon spanned sixteen days and challenged students to dive into pitches ranging from the reintegration of children into society after trauma experienced in trafficking to exploring solar panel efficiency.

While traditional hackathons focus on developing ideas over the span of a weekend, the George Hacks Fights Human Trafficking hackathon was a case study to see how successful the model could be with a less-condensed timeline.

“George Hacks Inspires Interdisciplinary Problem Solving,” GW Today

Read more about George Hacks human trafficking hackathon in partnership with Lantuun Dohio in the GW Today article “George Hacks Inspires Interdisciplinary Problem Solving.”

Recap | George Hacks Kogan Makerspace

George Hacks co-hosted a makerspace event to showcase GWU’s growing ecosystem of innovation.

We opened up interactive activities to engage the student body and work to instill an entrepreneurial mindset at GW. The makerspace exposed GW students to the George Hacks community to showcase how students of all backgrounds can get involved and serve the community through innovation.

Students were able to engage with the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, GW Innovation Center, GW Data, Soylent, and Synapse to learn about each organization. George Hacks displayed their talent in a unique and engaging experiment by making music through potatoes at the event.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our Kogan Makerspace event. We had a great time meeting the GW community and sharing information about George Hacks.