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Middlesex University Dubai student wins the Audience Choice Award at the Annual NYUAD


Leanne D’souza, has made us proud again!

Our very bright first year BSc IT student at Middlesex University Dubai, Leanne D’souza participated in the 2015 Annual NYUAD International Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World held from April 10th to 12th 2015 at New York University, Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). Leanne and her team mates who, among others, were from Yale University, Princeton, UCLA and Manipal University Won the Audience Choice Award for their solution to the challenge- ‘To make immigrant workers living in the UAE aware of their legal rights’.

The solution suggested by Leanne and her group was to ‘Empower workers by giving them access to translated labor laws’ by providing a platform to increase the awareness for labor laws while providing analytics on the platform’s impact. Keeping in mind the low income and illiteracy factor of the laborers, the group designed two approaches: A toll free number and a web application (providing multi-lingual support for the workers).

The group used a range of technologies for their solution such as: CSS, Dropbox, Flask, Git, HTML, Illustrator, Meteor, Nexmo, PHP, Python, Twilio, VoiceXML.

It is worth highlighting that NYUAD international Hackathon for Social Good in the Arab World, an annual event is highly competitive where participation is based on a two-step process- nomination of candidates from universities and then a rigorous selection process to shortlist suitable candidates by the organizers. Students work closely with mentors from internationally recognized organizations over 3 consecutive days to develop ideas and solutions to social problems.

Leanne and her team were mentored by Mr. Stephen Lang (Senior UI/UX Designer, Arccos, USA), Ms. Mona Demaidi (Co-founder and CTO at M&M Innovators, Palestine) and Mr. Baris Yuksel, Software Engineering Tech Lead/Manager at Google Ideas, USA.

Leanne found the experience to be highly rewarding in terms of the learning process and the interaction with like-minded participants from across the globe.

For Leanne personally, this is her second success in the last three months. She was also part of a team (with 3 other girls from Jubail University College Saudi Arabia) that won the first place at the Women in STEM Hackathon organized by the Meera Kaul Foundation (Middle East, Africa, India & China) held at Canadian University, Dubai on the 14th & 15th of January 2015.

Leanne will also be making a short presentation in class to share this success with her peers and inspire others to come forward and participate in further competitions.

I am very grateful to all the IT teaching faculty for preparing students for such competitions, specially Mr. Jaspreet Singh who is not only Leanne’s mentor but also leads all student IT competitions for the University.


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