In The News


Two Essex County College Students Excel in National Competition

                     Noel Shaji
                  Kizito Eke                

Essex County College students Kizito Eke and Noel Shaji, both majoring in Software Development Technology, placed third at the recent Hack-A-Roo Fall 2020 Competition hosted virtually by the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Out of the over 30 teams in the competition from around the country, Kizito and Noel were the only community college students. “We were a little intimidated at first,” admitted Kizito, who said “it felt like a dream come true,” when he and Noel received the good news from the judges.

The students were mentored by ECC Assistant Professor of Computer Science Dr. Teryn Cha. They competed under the team name Agile KiNoe. Third place carried a $500 prize.

The annual event focused on unique innovations to create more resilient global communities during challenging times, in this case the COVID-19 pandemic. The duo worked on: Improving the Capacity of Mental Health. What Can We Do To Support People Mentally During A Difficult Time?

 “It was a great competition, making us come together with an idea related to the COVID pandemic.  We had to think outside the box and really use our minds,” said Noel.

According to the students, the idea was to create a friendly, easy to navigate mobile application to help individuals track their state of mental health, coordinate day-to-day activities effectively and establish a reliable social connection in a digital community.

“Their winning the award is not surprising to me as they are so passionate about this subject,” said Dr. Cha.

“Congratulations Kizito and Noel on a job well done. Once again, I am proud that our students are receiving well-earned recognition on the national stage. I also want to applaud Dr. Cha on an excellent job of mentoring our students,” said ECC Interim President Dr. Augustine A. Boakye.  

“We are most grateful to our professor, Dr. Cha, for her excellent mentorship. She’s the best,” said Kizito.