St. Paul, Minn. – One hundred fifty-three (153) Macalester students making up 32 teams will work more than 24 hours non-stop during Macalester’s fourth Macathon and its first Funkathon, beginning at 4:30 p.m., Fri., February 19, and ending at 8 p.m. Sat., February 20. Macalester students will compete for cash prizes and the opportunity for feedback from successful alumni entrepreneurs, technologists, investors and those in the creative arts.

Macathon, Macalester’s overnight innovation and technology contest with over $2,000 in cash prizes, is a mash-up of a computer hackathon and a business start-up competition where students solve a real-world and relevant problem and build a product (website, interactive application, mobile app). Macalester students form teams of 3 – 6 participants, and the three teams that come up with the most innovative tech-enabled product or service for either the commercial or nonprofit sector will win. To succeed, Macathon teams need a mix of technical, business, design, communication and general creative skills.

New this year is Funkathon, an overnight musical composition contest of teams competing for over $2000 in cash prizes and the opportunity to have feedback from successful Macalester alumni working in the music/art world.  Composers, performance and multi-media artists, and creators are invited to form teams of 3 – 6 participants to write and produce an original piece of music or multi- media presentation up to 4 minutes in length. The work will be recorded with a professional sound engineer for judging.

Non-stop from 4:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20, teams of Macalester students will compete for cash prizes and the opportunity for feedback from successful alumni entrepreneurs, technologists, investors and those in the creative arts.

Who:  153 Macalester students (104 Macathon and 49 Funkathon) making up 32 teams (21 Macathon and 11 Funkathon)

What:  Macalester’s Macathon and Funkathon follow @macalester on Twitter for updates

When:  Non-stop: Fri., Feb. 19 – Sat., Feb 20, beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Where: Olin-Rice Science Center and Mairs Concert Hall, Janet Wallace Fine Arts

Best time to go: Saturday, 4 6:15 p.m. Mairs Concert Hall will hold the final presentations of the top six Macathon teams and the top four Funkathon teams. Award ceremony at 7:30 p.m. This event is open to the public.

Contact:  Barbara K. Laskin, Macalester media relations, 651-399-3252.

The Mcathon Judges/Advisers and Co-Founders
Josh Aas ’05
Executive Director, Internet Security Research Group
 Josh is currently attempting to secure the Internet as the Executive Director of Internet Security Research Group, which operates the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority. Josh is also a Senior Technology Strategist with Mozilla, a director of Family Tree Clinic, and a visiting instructor in the Computer Science department at Macalester.

Roya Ansari ’83
Co-Founder and VP Business Development, Trendage Inc. â€¨Trendage is a technology and fashion company. As an executive and co-founder of two other Silicon Valley technology startups, she led both ventures to successful acquisitions by Fortune 500 companies. Roya has over 30 years of experience with high-tech companies working for large Fortune 500 companies as well as her own startups.

Paul Cantrell ’98
Visiting Instructor, Macalester College; Developer & Designer, Bust Out Solutions; Independent Software Consultant; Composer /Pianist; Founder & Artistic Director, The New Ruckus
 Paul has created software for clients ranging from tech startups to Fortune 500s to arts nonprofits. He now returns to Macalester every spring to teach computer science and run the Dev Garden, Macalester’s software collaboration space.

Beth Desnick ’82
President, Thebe & Co 
After graduating, Beth moved to Paris with artist friends and created an international salon in her sixth floor walkup. Upon her return, she worked as a political aide and then stepped into the role of managing exhibitions and publications at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Seeing a niche, Beth founded Thebe & Co. with Thea Nelson, ’83, a creative agency focused on human-centered design for like-minded clients.

Seth Levine ’94
Partner and Co-Founder, Foundry Group
 Seth Levine is a partner and co-founder at Boulder based Foundry Group focusing on early stage investments in technologies business. Foundry investments include companies such as Zynga, Admeld and Fitbit. In addition to his work at Foundry, Seth is active around the world in the entrepreneurial community as a member of the board of directors of The Unreasonable Institute, an advisor to Palestinian focused venture fund Sadara, as well as a advisor to a number of other venture funds.

Peter Pascale ’94
Director, Product Strategy and Architecture, Pearson VUE
A geography and environmental studies double-major at Macalester, Peter has MS degrees in both geography and software engineering. With over 15 years’ experience in software development, Peter guides product and technology investment for Pearson VUE, a global testing and educational certification provider.

John Robinson ’71
Founder and CEO, Group Robinson LLC
A Macalester Trustee Emeritus, John has founded two successful financial advisory firms and has worked for over 35 years with startups to Fortune 100 companies internationally on capital raising projects totaling over $40 billion.  Startup company work is principally in the renewable energy (wind, solar), fuel cell, and energy storage sectors.

David Sielaff ’90
Founder, Critical Hit Technologies
In founding Critical Hit Technologies, David has returned to his start-up roots, developing new software products and consulting for others in the entrepreneurial world. He is also an active investor and advisor in early-stage technology start-ups, especially those operating in the social impact space.

Lee Wallace ’95
CEO, Peace Coffee
Lee Wallace is the CEO of Peace Coffee, a quality and mission-driven coffee company based in Minneapolis. Peace Coffee works to develop model trading practices with coffee farmers and promotes the development of healthy local economies and sustainable business practices. Historically a wholesale company, Peace Coffee has been expanding into retail. Lee’s professional background includes entrepreneurship, economic development, small business incubation, and natural foods.

Steve Wiggins ’78
Chairman and CEO, Remedy Partners; Managing Director, Essex Woodlands
During his senior year at Macalester, Steve founded Accessible Space, a non-profit organization with over 120 facilities serving physically impaired adults.  He later founded Oxford Health Plans, which grew to become a Fortune 300 company during his time as CEO.  He recently founded Remedy Partners. 

Per Von Zelowitz ’94
Macathon Co-Founder; Entrepreneur in Residence, Citi Ventures 
Per has over a decade of experience as a software entrepreneur and venture investor. Per is the chief event judge and, along with Seth Levine ’94, generated the Macathon concept.

Funkathon Judges and Advisers:
Marc Falk ’94
Pearl M. Taylor Associate Professor of Music, Coe College
Marc works at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he teaches Music Theory, Conducting, First-Year Seminars, and History of Rock & Roll, and conducts the Concert Choir. He is also a co-founder of Outdoor Adventures, a summer adventure camp for kids based in Iowa City.

Roy Gabay ’85
Co-President, Jumpstart Entertainment
Roy is a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer and general manager based in New York City.  Recent credits include Rock of Ages and Honeymoon in Vegas.  Roy has also served on the Macalester Board of Trustees.

Gary D. Hines ’74
Music Director and Producer, Sounds of Blackness
Director of the three time Grammy Award-winning Sounds of Blackness since 1971, Gary has recorded, performed, toured, written for and appeared with Quincy Jones, Jimmy “Jam” Harris & Terry Lewis, Prince, Usher, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Johnny Gill, Patti LaBelle, Sting, Dolly Parton, Danny Glover, and Jordin Sparks, among others. He has also conducted countless music workshops, seminars, lecture-demonstrations and master classes across the United States and internationally about the history, impact, and evolution of African-American music and culture.

Kristine Stresman ’11
Synths, vocals, Enemy Planes
Since graduation, Kristine has been an active member of the Minneapolis/St. Paul indie music scene. She currently is a member of Enemy Planes; the band will be releasing their debut album, Beta Lowdown, this coming March. They’ve had a busy last year of touring and also hosting the Wednesday night residency at The Cabooze during January and February. As well as touring coast to coast this spring, she will be curating and hosting a business and industry fundamentals workshop for women in music in the MSP metro area. 

Courtney Yasmineh ’83
Songwriter/Composer, classically trained guitarist, flutist & vocalist, Prose writer in fiction and poetry
Courtney has recorded and released six critically acclaimed albums that reflect an intimate grasp of several styles including indie pop, alt-country, and full-tilt rock and roll. In the process, she’s toured the U.S. six times and Europe nine, worked with some of the most highly respected musicians and producers in the industry, and emerged as a favorite among independent radio programmers here in the U.S. Her new album will be released this fall along with her first novel.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 2,138 students. Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, multiculturalism, and civic engagement. Learn more at or follow @macalester on Twitter for updates.

February 12 2016

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