UH Students to Create App-Based Solutions for Volcano Recovery

Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

PC: Pixabay

More than 45 students from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College will compete to develop app-based solutions for lava recovery efforts from the 2018 Kīlauea eruption, according to a press release from Hawai‘i-based nonprofit Bizgenics.

The hackathon will take place April 4 and April 5, 2020, from 10 am to 5pm each day. A total of $5,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to winning teams.

“While our hackathon was originally planned to take place on the UH Hilo campus, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced what is normally a live invention event to adapt as a 100 percent remote experience,” said Jason Ueki, Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Island Business Plan Competition (HIplan). “We selected, an online collaborative invention platform for students to run our hack on.”


The goal of any hackathon is to challenge students to address real-world problems, in this case, conceptualizing app-based solutions to support the Kīlauea Volcano eruption recovery effort facing Hawai‘i County.

Teams will create app concepts with the potential to become real startups, the press release said. By participating in hands-on concept development activities, students will learn creative problem-solving and other “Soft Skills” that are increasingly demanded in the business world.

“When schools began closing due to Coronavirus, we made BizzyB entirely free for the rest of the school year,” says BizzyB author and Bizgenics Foundation Chairman Steve Sue. “The HIplan Hackathon is a smart, forward-looking application of BizzyB’s Contest Module that was created to serve in-class challenges, hackathons, business plan competitions and accelerators. We’re happy to support HIplan and other producers of innovation-based learning programs.”


BizzyB’s approach combines self-directed learning, 4Cs learning (Creativity, Critical-Thinking, Collaboration & Communication), STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) and SEL (Social Emotional Learning). The result is an online innovation Concept Canvas where student teams collaborate on five essential themes of an innovation project.

This canvas supports remote collaboration via sidebar comment channels, built-in feedback surveys, pitch deck builder and showcase presentation functions. Mentors can view team content and advise remotely from anywhere, anytime.

Team members also experience corporate leadership roles serving as facilitators of the five themes. 21st Century Soft Skill measurement standards are measured in the system by pre- and post-project user surveys. Outcomes are reported through contest public pages and through individual student portfolios that feature project summaries, awards, certifications, badges and Soft Skill assessments.


Student admission to the hackathon is free, with signups available on a first-come basis. Educators are invited to watch the live showcase via video conference Sunday, April 5, 2pm Hawaii Standard Time. A recorded version of the showcase will be published following the event. For information, visit https://

The event is being sponsored by Kamehameha Schools, Ulupono Initiative, County of Hawai‘i, UH Hilo, and HCC. It is being produced by HIplan and the nonprofit Bizgenics Foundation.

Judges include State Senator Russell Ruderman, Dean of Liberal Arts & Public Services at HCC Melanie Wilson and Associate Professor of Computer Science & Engineering at HCC Shawon Rahman.

Mentors include Director of Accelerator Operations at Elemental Excelerator Sherrie Totoki in San Francisco, Americas Advisory Learning Leader Louise Lorton of Ernst & Young in North Carolina and a team of coders in Bangladesh.

Facilitators include local entrepreneur Mike Nakamura, former tech executive Wayne Morris and retired tech professional Walter McCoy.

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments