John Jay Students Win Major Prizes at AT&T Competition for Women in Technology

John Jay Students Win Major Prizes at AT&T Competition for Women in Technology

John Jay Students Win Major Prizes at AT&T Competition for Women in Technology

Two John Jay seniors, Marta Orlowska and Nyvia De Jesus, recently put their computer science skills to the test against a room full of professionals and won major prizes at the AT&T Wireless Women in Technology Hackathon for Good held in New York City on September 19.

Working with two professional developers, the Computer Science majors developed an app, Jailbreak My Life, that serves as a mobile resource center for returning prisoners — a project that fits well with John Jay's initiatives on reintegrating youth who may have been arrested or incarcerated. The app used the Google Maps application program interface (API) to show where the user was relative to essential resources such as food, jobs, free tutoring or health care.

Evan Misshula, an instructor and advisor to the Computer Science Club, said it was no surprise that John Jay students would choose a socially relevant mobile application that combined computing and criminal justice. "Our students are often much better than many developers at seeing the large overlap between policing, incarceration and computational problems," Misshula noted. "Accomplishing so much in such a short amount of time is truly an outstanding achievement for these emerging leaders in computer science and criminal justice."

In addition to using the Google Maps API, the students’ app, created in only six hours, used a thoroughly modern stack of HTML5, React and Node JavaScript programming languages. Asked how they could code in a language John Jay doesn't teach, Orlowska said: "It's not the language that is important. At John Jay, I got really good training in the fundamentals like data structures and source control. With that background and a great coding partner, it was easy to contribute in just a few hours." Meanwhile, De Jesus was learning how to leverage the Google Maps API to incorporate real-time geographic information system (GIS) data into their application, a task that no other team mastered over the course of the event. The students were paired with professional technology developers, Sara Morsi and Igor Politov, an engineer at DealBook.

For photos from the event, click here.

The major in Computer Science and Information Security at John Jay College major provides the firm grounding in computer science needed to understand and secure modern computer systems, networks and a range of digital technologies. Core courses introduce students to the fundamentals of computing, including software development, operating systems and networks. The major focuses on computer and network security and forensic analysis of cyber intrusions. Through a rigorous program of study, students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to pursue career opportunities in the rapidly growing fields of computer security and computer forensics.

Learn more about the major here.

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice:  An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit