What’s a Seawolf? A panel of judges found out the answer to our favorite campus question on when five Stony Brook students advanced to the final round of the New York State Making College Possible Coding Challenge. The final “pitch session” was hosted by Facebook New York, where five teams from SUNY and CUNY schools presented their projects to a group of esteemed tech panelists.
As a finalist in the competition, the Stony Brook’s “Team Chepang”, presented their project “Excel to College”. The project, which is still currently in beta testing, is an app that streamlines the college searching process by providing an interactive user interface, concise summaries of each school, and even a message board to discuss various college happenings for potential and current students alike. The team points out that their app would be beneficial to the schools and the government, serving as an additional means for exposure and advertising numerous state-funded scholarship opportunities.
“Excel to College” represents an important shift in recruiting, placing much more power in the hands of current students. The project’s tagline also illustrates this: “Search and learn about colleges directly, from the students, for the students.” This increase in true college accessibility aligned quite nicely with the spirit of the competition, which was part of the Excelsior Scholarship Campaign, Governor Cuomo’s ambitious endeavor to alleviate student debt.
“New York’s spirit of innovation and creativity is on full display in its world-class public university system and in this one-of-a-kind competition,” Governor Cuomo said. Over 370 students comprising 70 teams participated in the first ever “Making College Possible Coding Challenge”. The other four finalist teams that advanced to Facebook’s New York office were Collegium (SUNY Albany), Campus Hive (SUNY Fredonia), and Fast Pass and Team Knight (Queens College).
Stony Brook’s Team Chepang, which was coached by faculty member Richard McKenna, included Biki Gurung, Gobinda Senchury, Pakigya Taludhar, Sandhya Sharma, and Tsering Nyamgal. Each student is a member of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and all five are majoring in either computer science, or applied mathematics and statistics (or both!). Although they were not the ultimate winner of the competition, advancing to the finals is still a major accomplishment and they each received a monetary prize from NYS. On behalf of the department and the entire Stony Brook community, we congratulate Team Chepang. The beta for “Excel to College” can be found at: http://exceltocollege.herokuapp.com/
By Michael Curatola