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Students apply tech skills to solving social issues at inaugural Claremont FinTech Hackathon

Futuristic graphic illustration of Python code

Credit: whiteMocca/Shutterstock

May 24, 2021

Innovative students from the Claremont Colleges recently completed the first Claremont FinTech Hackathon, a month-long competition to examine how well U.S. companies are supporting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts worldwide.

During the hackathon, more than 40 students—who comprised 13 teams—came together, developing models to showcase their findings by leveraging seven unique datasets.

“The Claremont FinTech Hackathon offered an exciting opportunity for students, particularly given the recent momentum for social issues to be at the forefront of how we think about ESG,” said Nishant Dass, Charles M. Stone Associate Professor of Finance & Director of the Financial Economics Institute (FEI) at CMC.

"The opportunity reflects our culture across the Claremont Colleges. We believe that corporations and society at large need to take these ESG-related issues seriously. Participants were able to put their skills into practice and work as a team to hack their way to a more equitable and sustainable future,” Dass said.

The winning team “CGU FinTech,” comprised of CGU students Jung Suh and Joshua Swanson, worked to identify a correlation between human capital development and talent attraction and retention, as proxies for identifying companies' exposure to racial and social injustice. As the first-place winners of the hackathon, the team will have the opportunity to develop their project with a team at S&P Global, a financial information and analytics company that facilitated the competition through its EssentialTECH program.

Members of the second place team, “We Like The Stock”—CMC students Karan Goel ’24, Nicholas Wilson ’23, Matthew San Luis ’23, Brandon Rho ’22, and Edward Wu ’23—as well as the submission deemed “Most Creative from the “Codefellas” team—Tyler Duggan ’23, Lauren Fetten (Scripps) ’22, Vera Resendez ’23, and Brooke Simon ’23—will receive a mentorship session with an S&P Global executive.

Participating in the Claremont FinTech Hackathon provided Rho, from the “We Like The Stock” team, with a vital learning opportunity. “While you will always learn a thing or two from hackathons, I gained better exposure to what a typical software engineer or developer would work on for big economic firms and how to utilize a programming language,” he said. The 3+2 major noted that he “greatly benefited” from being able to “apply economic theory to my computational background.”

Upon conclusion of the hackathon, participants received a digital certificate signed by CMC alumnus and trustee Douglas L. Peterson '80 P'14 P'15, the President and Chief Executive Officer of S&P Global.

“Everyone involved had such a great experience that we think it's worth building upon to make the hackathon a recurring event for our students across the 5Cs,” Dass said. “We are hoping to host it again in Spring 2022.”

—Anne Bergman

Anne Bergman

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