Macathon 2023 had a harmonious introduction in the Mairs Concert Hall with bagpipes and dance, kicking off the beginning of the twenty-four-hour challenge for Mac’s innovative student entrepreneurs. This idea-building, creativity contest asks students to put liberal arts into action by identifying a real-world problem and inventing a unique solution, all overnight. 

Throughout their intensive brainstorming period, each team is paired with a group of four to six alumni judges from around the world who provide mentorship and advice.

“Each year, Macathon is a powerful experience for students and alumni alike to work together on ideas to make an impact in the world,” said President Suzanne Rivera. 

At the end of the event, each team delivers a seven-minute presentation on their final product to a panel of judges. Each placement is given a reward of $500, $750, and $1,000 respectively for third, second, and first place. 

“I’m thoroughly impressed by the quality of projects proposed by the many teams,” said Sasmita Tripathy, Entrepreneurship and Innovation program manager. “I hope students continue to bring such wonderful ideas in the future.”

In third place, “Crunchy Rice” for their allergen testing kit

Evelyn Bond ’26, Shelly Bai ’25, and Tobias Schecter ’25 focused on the issue that the vast majority of food-related allergic reactions occur in non-prepackaged food, namely in restaurants. Their solution is a testing kit that traces peanut proteins, the most commonly found food allergens, allowing the user to confirm whether or not the food contains allergens. 

In second place, “Powerpuff Girls” for their “Shh…” product

This group, comprised of Lifelihle Kunene ’25, Anna Diagne Sene ’24, Ghaicha Aboubacar Ahe ’24, Maria Benito Correa ’25, and Christine Oduor ’25, drew attention to an issue that menstruating individuals experience: the loud, recognizable sound of sanitary pad wrappers. They presented the narrative of a menstruating individual opening a pad in a public bathroom, where, depending on the context of their local environment, they may not want to announce to anyone else that they are using a menstrual pad. 

Their solution is a silicon pad wrapper, dubbed “Shh,” that attaches to adhesive parts of the menstrual pad. The user opens their pad(s) at home, attaches them to the wrapper(s), and has them on the go. 

To supplement their product, the group also brainstormed an educational app that helps consumers both use their product and learn other general information about menstrual cycles. 

In first place, “MintT” for their “ToxApp”

The final group, comprised of Laith Alayassa ’24, Chloe Vasquez ’24, Isabella Bautista ’24, and Timothy Lang ’24, won the first-place prize with their “ToxApp” idea. The app addresses the low survival rate from snake bites, as 140,000 deaths and 400,000 disabilities result from snake bites every year. 

Two key factors determine survival/recovery of a snake bite: how quickly an individual and emergency services can respond to it, and which anti-venom is required for a certain bite. To combat these often time-consuming processes, the “ToxApp” informs the user what their next steps should be to react to the snake bite, find the closest hospital that has the right anti-venom, and identify the snake that bit them.

December 7 2023

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