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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Morgan State University Students Take Home Prize Money, Land Internships After Hackathon 

Lincoln Financial Group, a company providing advice and solutions that help people take charge of their financial lives, continues to invest in students who attend Morgan State University (MSU) by exposing them to the IT sector. Lincoln Financial Group IT organization’s second 24-hour student hackathon, that is known as codeLinc, kicked off at MSU at noon on Saturday, April 15, 2023. Each team presented their project in front of peers and a judging panel. The 24-hour coding challenge concluded on Sunday, April 16, 2023.

“The event enables participants to take everything they’re learning in the classroom, from coding and designing user experience to presenting their ideas, and work through the development process and technical challenges as a team,” said Scott Roth, senior vice president, divisional chief information officer, Workplace Solutions, Lincoln Financial Group. “The experience is very similar to what they would be doing as an IT professional when they enter the workforce.” 

Team FinTrack won a $4,000 first-place prize. Ogundiran Aramide, Saad Nadeem, Abby Arowolaju, Efosa Isujeh, Godsheritage Adeoye and Querida Emmanuel comprised the team. The students were advised by Patrick Ouellette and Nitin Sharna, who served as two coaches from Lincoln. The app that students created was described online as “a one stop shop financial app designed to help young people keep track of their finances” and “teach financial literacy.” 

Elijah Ballou, Hanan Ayodeji, Terell Reed and Katlyn Cox Kennedy Wallace were second place winners from Team Future Innovators who were awarded $2,000. Team Grape won a third-place $1,000 prize. Marcus Cusaac, Marquise Pearson, Tomiisin Ajayi, Beatrice Ohsokoya, Zorah Neal, Oluwanifemi Mebude, and Kyla Abraham were teammates. 

Saad Nadeem, a senior who was a part of this year and last year’s first-place hackathon team, reflected on his experience.

“At hackathons like codeLinc, you get to network with a lot of professionals and that’s where you start building relationships. It’s great for gaining hands-on experience with developing if you’re a computer science major and even if you’re not. I had teammates working in information systems and animation. I recommend anyone to join this hackathon,” Nadeem told Scott Richardson from Lincoln.

Hackathon participants were mentored by Lincoln’s highly skilled engineers throughout the growing event. 

“This year, 76 students working in 14 teams participated in codeLinc at Morgan State which is more than double last year’s participation. We were thrilled to welcome even more students this year and see the enthusiasm from returning students and new participants, as a result of the success of our inaugural event in 2022,” Roth said. “codeLinc is an incredible opportunity for students to tackle real technical challenges during a condensed time frame, while being mentored by Lincoln’s highly skilled engineers throughout the event. The event enables participants to take everything they’re learning in the classroom, from coding and designing user experience to presenting their ideas, and work through the development process and technical challenges as a team.”

Lincoln Financial Group is based in Radnor, Pennsylvania. It serves 16 million customers by providing retirement, insurance and wealth protection expertise. The company formed a partnership with MSU in  2021. Roth explained that the company is  “committed to developing and supporting early career and diverse talent,” in addition to investing in building relationships and providing meaningful and impactful experiential learning opportunities. 

“Morgan State, one of the nation’s leading Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Lincoln share the common goal of fostering a diverse professional workforce for a stronger, more inclusive future,” Roth also said.

But internship opportunities are also arising because of Lincoln’s MSU partnership. Oluwadara Dina, a 19-year-old junior who participated in codeLinc’s event that was held at MSU in 2022 and 2023, interned with the company in the summer of 2022. Dina is super grateful to have participated in the 2022 codeLinc hackathon. It led to an additional opportunity. The computer science major was invited to return for a summer internship. 

“I will be a software engineering intern at Lincoln this June,” Dina said, adding that the three-month opportunity will be remote.

Roth further explained broader collaborative objectives with MSU and Lincoln University, a Pennsylvania-based HBCU.

“Our long-term goal is to continue to enhance our diverse early career talent pipeline,” he said. “In addition to codeLinc, Lincoln also hosts Morgan State University Day, which is a broader career development event at our Pennsylvania-based headquarters that offers students interested in all areas of our business – finance, investments, sales, marketing and computer science – the opportunity to learn more about our business, early career talent programs and also network with Lincoln’s leadership team.”

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