21 students compete to win coding contest

Semi-finalists will compete to design innovative learning applications with measurable impacts on learner outcomes

coding-contestPearson has announced the 21 semi-finalists for its third annual Student Coding Contest. The 2015 contest places an emphasis on recruiting college students and teams to develop original groundbreaking learning applications that integrate with Pearson Application Programming Interfaces or APIs.

Semi-finalists include a U.S. Air Force (USAF) Academy cadet team, which consists mostly of computer science club members. As students develop their applications, they are challenged to make a positive, measurable impact on learning.

The semi-finalist teams will complete the design and coding of their apps and present them to the contest judges, who will select the top three winners.

Cash prizes will be awarded to top three finalists on February 5, 2016: first place ($5,000), second place ($2,500), and third place ($1,000). The winners will also present their entries at the Pearson offices in Denver, Colo. in February 2016.

The semi-finalists and their applications include:

● Tologon Eshimkanov, App Name: Progress Tracker, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, MA
● Jacob Cook and Nicholas Harron, App Name: Class Library, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO
● Aaron Martin, App Name: ClassMap, Troy University, Troy, AL
● Axl McCracken, App Name: SmartCards, Amarillo College, Amarillo, TX
● Luis F. Alcantar, App Name: Don’t leave me behind, University of Texas El Paso, TX
● Anisha Srivastava, App Name: Lightpath – “illuminate the path to mastery”, University of Texas at Austin, TX
● Christopher Goldsworthy, App Name: Hand Up, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
● Nathan E. Smith, App Name: RealWorld, Troy University, Troy, AL
● Farhan Samir, App Name: Nest, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
● Alberta Williams, App Name: Chat, Southern New Hampshire University, Hookset, NH
● Steven Galarza, App Name: Traction, Hudson County Community College, Jersey City, NJ
● Faye Li, App Name: Flashgifs, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, IN
● Ryan Dotson, App Name: NoCrast, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, LA
● Cameron Moreau, App Name: Are You There Yet?, University of Texas at Arlington, TX
● Wen Chuan Lee, Danh Nguyen and Tim Nguyen, App Name: Respot, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
● Yen-chieh Huang, App Name: Mint, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
● Rodrigo Mesquita, App Name: Aha!, Oakland Community College, Royal Oak, MI
● Kushal Cuttari, App Name: Annoto, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA
● Brent Autry, App Name: Play to Learn, Amarillo College, Amarillo, TX
● Michael Saarah, App Name: myE-Reader, Fisk University, Nashville, TN
● Jeremy Pidgeon, App Name: Are you smarter than your friends?, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL

“Computer science is a top-earning degree and computer programming jobs are growing at two times the national average, according to This contest, along with our Hour of Code partnership, are important ways in which we are creating new opportunities for learners to develop and showcase their refined digital skills, and it all aligns with our commitment to increasing employability and improving lives through learning,” said John Wannemacher, VP of Higher Education Strategic Marketing, Pearson.

Last year’s first place winner, University of Minnesota student Alex Ngure, created the application CrowdLearn. Review Alex’s success story.

“The Pearson Student Coding Contest gives students the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge to a real-world setting,” said Notre Dame College’s Professor John Balash, who served as a judge for the second annual contest. “I was impressed with the high-quality work the students produced; the apps developed show what the students are capable of and what technologies could be created and used to help others.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione