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Dr. Manderino heads back to her alma mater, Cornell University, as a mentor in the Animal Health “Hackathon” competition.

Hackathon 1What’s a “Hackathon”?  Well, it’s hacking in its most positive context - using minimal resources and maximum brain power to create outside-the-box solutions ("hacks") in a constrained time frame. In other words, Hack + Marathon = Hackathon.

This weekend long event brings together teams comprised of veterinary students, business students, engineers, and designers to compete to create solutions for current needs in veterinary health care. Mentors, like Dr. Manderino, provide feedback and guidance to the teams, culminating in a project showcase on Sunday and final presentations to an audience of peers, industry reps, and participants.  A panel of judges selects 4 winning teams who receive a total of $8000 worth of cash prizes.

Hackathon 2Dr. Manderino was super impressed by the entrepreneurship and problem-solving skills of the students and the range of unique ideas they had.

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Among her favorites was a system called Farm Speak, a subscription service to help farmers and non-English speaking laborers overcome language barriers to report on cow health at dairy farms. That team won for Best Market Ready Solution.

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Another project that hit close to home for Dr. Manderino, and won the Best Vet Med Healthcare Solution award, was called Stay on Track. This team proposed a quick, easy, inexpensive way to assess signs of orthopedic disease in racehorses.

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The big winner of the day was the Lean Preen Machine team, who walked away with two of the four prizes, winning Most Innovative Solution and the People’s Choice Award. This product incorporated the same oscillating technology used by jewelers and dentists to remove oil from wildlife, especially birds, in a fraction of the time after an oil spill.

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Dr. Manderino had a great time working with all the students at Cornell’s Hackathon. She also enjoyed being back on campus—she couldn’t believe all the changes.

Here she is in the new atrium and student rooms at Cornell’s Veterinarian School.

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