​The United Athletes Foundation partnered with Microsoft Supplier Diversity to launch the #BeU Hackathon Event from November 12th through the 14th at Microsoft's Redmond, WA campus. This Windows App hackathon event brought together teams of students from twelve colleges/universities around the country, nine of which are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), to compete in the finals for more than $70,000 in STEM Education scholarship prizes sponsored by Microsoft.  

 The Honorable Drs. Andrew Young and Dr. Walter Young joined Reggie Howard and Fernando Hernandez from Microsoft for the official announcement and kick off press conference at the Andrew and Walter Young YMCA in Atlanta, GA on September 10th.  

Microsoft Supplier Diversity and UAF together recognized the power of leveraging the influence of professional athletes and the experience of Microsoft to create an event that changed the lives of young people and help set the foundation for business ownership a new and exciting way.

During the three days on the Microsoft campus students attended a kick-off event that included an address by Taylor Hawes, General Manager - Microsoft Corp Finance, regarding the need for diversity within the technology supplier base, and Yvonne Thomas, Director - Microsoft's Youth Spark with an overview of the programs available to technology/business students, such as Imagine Cup and BizSpark.  The keynote speaker for this event was Dr. Thomas Mensah - inventor of fiber optics cable, entrepreneur and author.   

Throughout these intense days of coding, students were also presented with opportunities to meet with Microsoft employees from the windows development team who acted as advisors to the students and the Microsoft Careers team who spent a good portion of time talking with the students and getting photos to broadcast the event on the Microsoft twitter feeds.  A big highlight of the event was the participation of Ray Lewis, two-time Super Bowl Champion, ESPN Analyst, and UAF Vice-Chair who attended Q&A session with the students on the 13th and the motivational speech to the students on the morning of the presentations.The twelve final teams presented their final App Concepts in a 'shark tank' like environment to a panel of judges comprised of tech savvy entrepreneurs, community leaders and world-renowned athletes.  Fernando Hernandez from Microsoft's Supplier Diversity team served as the MC.  The judges were as follows:  Former NFL player and UAF Founder, Reggie Howard;Microsoft's Garage Hackathon team, Amyr Has; Avis Yates Rivers, President and CEO of Technology Concepts Group International; Ron Busby, President, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.; Eliza Hernandez, Director, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation; and Entrepreneur, Inventor and "Father of the Fiber-Optic Cable", Dr. Thomas Mensah.

 Winners of the hackathon event were announced at a star studded celebration in café 31 on the Microsoft campus during the afternoon of Friday, the 14thwhere there was a musical performance by singer/songwriter Verse Simmonds (his impressive writing credits include songs made famous by Chris Brown, Justin Bieber, Usher, Jay Z and Kanye West) at the celebration.

Michael DeVore from Claflin University (HBCU) is only one 10 people that were chosen in world to win the International "Ozy Genius Award" for the Live Chair Barbershop App.  Michael's team was a finalist in the United Athletes Foundation #BeU Hackathon at Microsoft Headquarters last fall.  We are extremely proud to see Michael and his team continuing their rise to the top.  
Read the interview below at www.ozy.com rising stars section.

Michael DeVore: Live Chair Barbershop App

Michael DeVore doesn't think he's a genius. More like a visionary (the 22-year-old keeps a journal with a list of all his ideas). "Every time I can get someone to listen to me, I'm pitching a new idea," DeVore says. His latest vision? A world where broke college kids never again have to go to a job interview with a mop of unruly hair.

This particular scheme came to DeVore when a classmate at Claflin University, in Orangeburg, South Carolina, was complaining about how he couldn't afford to get a haircut. DeVore thought about all the other students who probably had the same problem. Then he thought about all the barbers he'd visited who didn't have websites, efficient appointment booking systems or a marketing presence. Enter Live Chair, an app that aims to connect barbers and students. Among other conveniences, the app will provide discounts for college students and a platform for companies to connect with new customers. "Teachers always tell us, 'You want to go work for someone,'" DeVore says. "But I've always been a rebel. I want to do something different."For more information visit www.livechairapp.com

$70,000 Awarded in STEM Education Scholarships!

2014  UAF Hackathon Finalist Michael DeVore wins international, Oxy Genius Award.

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